I am looking for academic research about Emacs. Any disciplines are interesting; psychology, economics, design, computer science including subdisciplines such as HCI and software engineering, philosophy, anthropology, science and technology studies, political economy, theology, culinary sciences..., history, comparative literature, cultural studies, math; everything and anything is interesting.

The ones I found with a quick search were these two:

Twidale, Michael B.; Jones, M. Cameron. 2005. "Let them use emacs": the interaction of simplicity and appropriation, in International reports on socio-informatics 2(2) 66-71. Retrieved from https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/9607

Palmer, J.; Duffy, T.; Gomoll, K.; Gomoll, T; Richards-Palmquist, J. and Trumble, J. A. 1988. "The design and evaluation of online help for Unix EMACS: capturing the user in menu design," in IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 44-51, March 1988. doi: 10.1109/47.6920. Retrieved from https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6920/references

  • Welcome to Emacs.SE! This question is too open-ended for our format. I suggest you try posting it on Reddit instead.
    – Dan
    Oct 18, 2019 at 19:58
  • 1
    I think that if the question asks for specific research references then it is specific enough. It's not like it's fishing for opinions. I'll vote to reopen. I can understand closing as too broad, though. But generally a question is too broad if the answers are likely to be all over the map, at all levels of detail, and not necessarily helpful. I think this question and its answers could be helpful to the community.
    – Drew
    Oct 18, 2019 at 21:51
  • @Drew: that's fine if people want to vote to reopen. I closed it on the basis of the following rule of thumb: what would an acceptable answer look like, and how would one choose between competing answers? We could end up with a bunch of different answers, each citing a different publication, and none of which would be more or less right/acceptable than the others. I think we decided a long while back not to do "big list" questions, and this strikes me as one of those.
    – Dan
    Oct 19, 2019 at 0:19
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    Alternatively, an initial answer could be provided by the Community and people could add references to that. Once in a while, an editor could go in and rerarrange/classify/curate the entries to keep the list useful. If somebody adds another answer with a few references, they could be asked to add it to the main answer instead. Just a suggestion.
    – NickD
    Oct 19, 2019 at 0:33
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    Having a community answer with a list sounds like a good way around the problem pointed out by Dan.
    – Stefan
    Oct 19, 2019 at 3:40

1 Answer 1


Answering myself :) There is a new page (which I just set up today) on EmacsWiki called Research About Emacs, and also a Zotero group called Emacs for all your reference convenience.

The former1 is, hopefully and potentially a growing, maintainable, close-to-Emacs-community and also search engine friendly page for documenting, disseminating, organizing and debating research about and around Emacs. The latter2 is hopefully a growing, maintainable and also close-to-academic-community place for collecting Emacs references now and in the future.

This answers the question. Have a nice day, self, and enjoy the readings collected so far. So far they are

Aspinall, D. (2000). Proof General: A Generic Tool for Proof Development. In S. Graf & M. Schwartzbach (Eds.), Tools and Algorithms for the Construction and Analysis of Systems (pp. 38–43). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Crestani, M. (2005). A New Garbage Collectorfor XEmacs (Masters thesis, University of Tübingen). Retrieved from https://crestani.de/xemacs/pdf/thesis-newgc.pdf

Lapalme, G. (1998). Dynamic tabbing for automatic indentation with the layout rule. Journal of Functional Programming, 8(5), 493–502. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0956796898003098

Monnier, S., & Sperber, M. (2018, September). Evolution of Emacs Lisp. 36.

Neubauer, M., & Sperber, M. (2001). Down with Emacs Lisp: Dynamic Scope Analysis. Proceedings of the Sixth ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming, 38–49. https://doi.org/10.1145/507635.507642

Palmer, J., Duffy, T., Gomoll, K., Gomoll, T., Richards-Palmquist, J., & Trumble, J. A. (1988). The design and evaluation of online help for Unix EMACS: Capturing the user in menu design. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 31(1), 44–51. https://doi.org/10.1109/47.6920

Stallman, R. M. (1981). EMACS the Extensible, Customizable Self-documenting Display Editor. Proceedings of the ACM SIGPLAN SIGOA Symposium on Text Manipulation, 147–156. https://doi.org/10.1145/800209.806466. Available online at https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/emacs-paper.html

Twidale, M. B., & Jones, M. C. (2005). “Let them use emacs”: The interaction of simplicity and appropriation. International Reports on Socio-Informatics, 2, 66–71. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2142/9607

Voit, K. (2013). What really happened on September 15th 2008? Getting The Most from Your Personal Information with Memacs. ArXiv:1304.1332 [Cs]. Retrieved from http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.1332

Zhong, S., & Xu, H. (2019). Intelligently Recommending Key Bindings on Physical Keyboards with Demonstrations in Emacs. Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, 12–17. https://doi.org/10.1145/3301275.3302272

  • I don't know if papers about versor-mode exists, but it's probably worth mentioning as it was part of an research project about text editing.
    – clemera
    Oct 21, 2019 at 13:12

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