Writing journal articles and white papers could mean inputing citations, but there are quick ways of doing this. Check out my top 10 reference management tools.

1. EndNote (http://www.endnote.com/): EndNote is a programme that allows you to manage your PDFs in how they are organised but also search within the text across a number of PDFs. You can manually input your references with the option to import references from certain websites. You can link EndNote with Microsoft Word to insert citations (cite as you write) and create a bibliography. This can costs about £160-195/$250-300 depending on whether you download it or have the licence delivered.

2.Mendeley (http://www.mendeley.com/): This is a free software manager, which has an app and desktop feature. The added bonus of this management tool is the academic social network and the ability to find out about what other academics in the field are reading. I loved this and wished that I had found out about it sooner.

3. Flow (https://flow.proquest.com/): This is a free cloud based citation management software recently released from the developers of RefWorks. It can show trends of what is up and coming in academia.

4. Colwiz (https://www.colwiz.com/): A free reference management software. This software allows searches for references, that can be stored in a cloud, the ability to read PDFs, write and create citations and share citations with contacts.

5.Docear (http://www.docear.org/): This is free software and allows the organisation of literature and annotation of PDFs with a ‘recommender system’ enabling one to find out about other literature in the area.

6.ReadCube (https://www.readcube.com/): An impressive piece of free citation management software! There is an abundance that can be achieved with this such as get a full reference list from PDFs, receive daily recommendations about other literature and the organisation of citations.

7.Zotero (https://www.zotero.org/): This is free online tool that enables the collection, organisation and synchronisation of citations. It looks a little dated and doesn’t have some of the features that its alternatives have such as an app however, it is very easy to use.

9.Paperpile (https://paperpile.com/): Paperpile is £23/$36 a year for an academic. It has a number of features such as organising PDFs, sharing tools and a range of referencing styles can be used for making citations.

10.Papers (http://www.papersapp.com): Papers allows one to read PDFs, share citations, cite as you go and organise citations. A licence costs £43/$67+VAT and student licences are £26/$40+VAT.

Happy reference managing!

Update: 15 December 2015 – I’ve recently come across Quiqqa (www.quiqqa.com), which is free and has a number of features such as formating your bibliography into the reference style you need plus highlights what research papers you could be reading next.

You can also download the app ‘iAnnotate’ (http://www.iannotate.com/) to write on existing PDFs, as an alternative or addition to help you if the tool you choose doesn’t have this feature.

About the Author formalisedcuriosity

At Formalised Curiosity we help SMEs and public sector organisations better understand their end user through social and market research.

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