Best Reference Management Software
Reference Management Solutions help users in creating the personal resource library for organizing all the resources that they are finding for using in various projects. These tools enables users in creating the citation and bibliography page along with the functionalities that assists in generating citations in varied styles. The citations that are generated come from various article that are available online, book, journal, and multiple other resources.
Best Reference Management Software in 2020
- ReadCube Papers
- Cite this for me (Formerly RefMe)
- Reference Manager
Mendeley- Mendeley is the software that offers service to the academic researchers. The reference manager offered by the company enables researchers in managing and sharing the research paper and for generating the bibliography for the scholarly article.
EasyBib- EasyBib is the information literacy platform that offers citations, notes, and research tool for educational purpose. The software is precise, fast and complete solution that helps educators in teaching and student in learning which helps them in becoming the efficient researcher.
EndNote- EndNote offered by Thomson Reuters, is designed for writing essay and article. This software help users to simplify the tiring work of arranging the reference. It is the desktop client software that offers over six thousand bibliographic styles. EndNote is mainly used in health science industry.
ReadCube Papers- ReadCube Papers is the software designed especially for Mac OS X and windows that is used for managing bibliography and reference while writing essay and article. The software enhances the user’s way of discovering, organizing, reading, annotating, and sharing.
Cite this for me (Formerly RefMe) - Cite this for me enables researchers in finding and accurately citing the sources. It is the open source solution for all the users that can be integrated with other reference management tools. It automates and speeds up the referencing process.
Reference Manager- Reference Manager is the bibliography software used for workgroup, network, and for collaborative project. The software helps users in searching online database and enables them in organizing the reference easily.
Zotero- Zotero is the reference software that automatically senses contents in the web browsers. It is the user friendly solution that lets users to add all format of files and multimedia like audio and snapshot of web page to it. The tool is mainly designed for desktop.
Citavi- Citavi is the combination of reference management and knowledge organization. The tool designed for Microsoft windows. Citavi provides different forms of software based on the user type, which may vary like researchers, companies and organizations, students, librarians, and home users.
Paperpile- Paperpile is the web based commercial reference manager with the special functionality of integrating with the Google docs and Google scholars. The software comes with an intuitive interface that organizes paper with folder, label, and stars.
JabRef- JabRef is the open source, cross platform software. It helps users in discovering, collecting, organizing, and citing the scholarly literatures and enables them to become efficient researchers. It can also sort out the reference and delete duplicate that are found during the research process.
Best Reference Management Software enables student, researchers, and everyone who source for materials to cite accurate and efficient data. This tool can be used for one time where researchers or students submits the data and receives the complete citations, or this tool can be also be used for project that are ongoing and for long term as the secured source repositories. The reference management solution serves more than only educational purpose. It can enable users in preparing business presentation or report generation if the data is effectively cited. It is the simple tool similar to the article input and journal data and then copy and paste of the result in the research paper directly. These tools are usually used for educational purpose and can accessed by users of all age groups.
The reference management solution connects large teams via cloud server and provides them with the full company access to the guaranteed and secured resource and article. Usually the best reference management solutions can be integrated with the files storages and sharing or documents creations tools or even with the internet browser. This enables the researchers and students to collect the data as they find it and enables them in saving that information real time rather than searching it and locating it again and again.
The global best reference management software is expected to grow from $ 241 million in 2019 to $ 413 million by 2025 at a CAGR of 7.8% during the forecast period. The software is categorized as the reference management tool if it provides numerous options for citations formats, it should be able of generating the citation for varied materials like book, website, journal and many more, and it should offer functionalities that helps researchers in organizing research related and sourced data correctly. The reference management tool is the vital tool that helps to compose the research project. The best reference management software also ensure that the appropriate source receives the credits. The major benefits of this software comprise generation of citation in numerous varied citation style from varied medium, it also enables user in organizing the resource into standard and single reachable location, and it optimizes the organization of data which makes that data more accessible to users usually to the researchers and students.
The competitive leadership mapping (Quadrant) showcased below provides information for the best Reference Management software. Vendor evaluations are based on two broad categories: product offering and business strategy. Each category carries various criteria, based on which vendors have been evaluated. The evaluation criteria considered under product offerings include the breadth of offering, delivery (based on industries that the vendors cater to, deployment models and subscriptions), features/functionality, delivery, product quality and reliability, and product differentiation. The evaluation criteria considered under business strategy include geographic footprint (based on geographic presence), channel strategy and fit, vision alignment, and effectiveness of growth (based on innovations, partnerships, collaborations, and acquisitions).
The best Reference Management software in this category are: Mendeley, EasyBib, ReadCube Papers, and EndNote.
The best Reference Management solution in this category is Zotero.
The best Reference Management software in this category are: Reference Manager, and Cite this for me (RefMe).
The best Reference Management software in this category are: JabRef, Citavi, and Paperpile.
Why use the Best Reference management software?
Best Reference management software is the uncomplicated and effective tool that helps in tracking the resources while working on the research work. There are various functionalities that are provided by this software and helps researchers in creating the source library alongside the easy form that generates complete citation. This results into completing the research project in less time and in the most effective way. The software enables users in saving time and also manages their reference and enhances the digital literacy skill. The reference management solution also allows users to be more constant in their work of presenting reference as the style is applied on its own by the software. The major reasons of using the software are:
Generation of citations- Usually generation of citation is very simple similar to how we input the link and then copy and paste the result in the work cited page. The software enables users in choosing the citation styles and includes the particular page for quoting source, which results into seamless generation of citation for the user.
Collection of sources- Based on the duration of the project, users would spend more time in checking the suitable more dozen of the sources. This tool comes with the functionalities that enable users in organizing the sources in the single location. This organization enables researchers in keeping track of the sources that when they were found. This is very crucial thing for long duration projects.
Who uses the best reference management solution?
Teachers- For execution of the projects properly and accurately, in educational or academic institutions the reference management solution is used by teaching staff so that they can explain students on how to use it the most possible efficient way and make the impressive cited project.
Students- The academic institutions have made this as the part of the curriculum at many institutes. Therefore, the students of all age groups are making the best of this software. This tool helps them in keeping the track of the sources that they are using for their projects. Students are also making use of this software for numerous projects at the same point of time.
Independent researcher- Research being one of the trending industry today, there are many people who are practicing it. Lot of researchers who are doing research in particular industry uses this tool. These researchers are always in need of the best reference management software that will help them in collecting and monitoring sources that are used in their research related project.
Best Reference Management Software Features
The reference management solution offers numerous top functionalities. Most of the features are common for all the tools while there are few features that are found for specific software. Below are few top features offered by the software:
Generating the citation- The software has the ability of generating the citation from the various source comprising website, book, academic project and many more such sources. The citation that is generated comes in numerous varied styles comprising MLA, APA, Chicago style and many more such styles.
Generating the Bibliography- By collecting various sources that are found during the research process while working on the project, this software has the ability of creating the bibliographies and this result into saving lot of time of the researchers.
Personal source library- The software lets users in compiling the sources that they have collected through their research process. The sources that are compiled are the ones that are relevant to the particular requirements of the users. This makes it easy for the researchers to check the sources that they have collected and is easily accessible at any point of time. This saves huge amount of time of researcher and avoids duplicate usage of sources.
Resource database- There are various reference management solution that are available in the market, that connects to the online server and provides access to the database with complete set of resources materials like journal, blog, book, publication and many more. It also comes with the feature where users can type in the search box of their requirement in the tool and then go on the online database that is full of contents as per their requirements.
Synchronization- As most of the citation software are website or web apps and offers dynamic functionalities, researchers or students are able to get the data by using any device which has the ability of opening web pages. These tools are accessible from any such device. With this sync between the tool and device, it becomes possible to access the data of projects from any location and at any point of time.
Essay checker- This functionality offered by the best citation software enables users in submitting their essays to the grammatical or spelling checker. There are few tools who also helps in scanning the data for duplication. This is done by comparing the data submitted to the database of source material.
Benefits of Best Reference Management Software
Any research work or thesis or any article cannot be completed if there no proper bibliography. This happens since the people who read it must know the uniqueness in the content that they are reading. They can even go back to the other original data if they have any doubt.
The citations are generated by collecting the bibliographies, are done actually, when the task is ongoing, and in the middle of the write up that give the readers access of the source from where the data written was collected.
The reference management tools enable users in maintaining and organizing the list of reference sources or the citation. This saves huge time of the users as this management is done in the easy way and efficiently.
This tool also has the ability of managing the data that is collected while doing the research and organizes the citations so that they accessed by the users at any point of time.
The data collected and organized can be synchronized on various other devices and machine. With this synchronization, it becomes possible for the researchers to share that data with other researchers or students and give them access to that data.
The reference management tool enables users to access the data on the desktop they are using or even online on any other web pages.
The tool offers the benefit of citing and listing the resource in the huge range of bibliographical style as per the requirement of the user or as per the relevance of the project.
The benefits that are listed are the generalized benefits of this tool. Below is the list of personalized benefits that are provided by the best reference management software to the individuals.
For individuals, citation offers the functionality of metada edit and full screen reading. This is of great help when there are lengthy projects that users need to go through.
The reference management tool is able to work on multiple platforms that are available in the market like Mac, iOS and windows and it offers individuals the benefits of sharing the compiled article with other individuals.
The reference manager saves the huge amount of time that is required for organizing the sources. With the single press of the click, it becomes possible to save the reference from the online source. The reference manager also makes it very easy for organizing the references and helps users in keeping track of the data that was read in the past.
The reference has the ability of separating the data from the presentation. Hence, the software performs huge amount of task that needs to convert the reference in the multiple publication style. The software makes sure that the work done is consistent for presenting which is the time saver.
Apart from the above mentioned benefits, the reference managers also offers more advanced features and functionalities that turns it into the powerful tool that manages the complete research life cycle right from collection of sources to the data analysis, publishing, and sharing. This also includes:
- Annotations and attachment- Users can take notes and also the complete transcription in the tool only and attach or even link that to the copy of the original data if it is available.
- Organization and linking- The references are organized in the way that are categorized, tagged or are organized in the other way possible.
- With the cloud functionality it enables online backups and also lets users to sync the data in numerous devices that can be accessed at any time.
- The data or the project can be shared with other members working on it. This increases the collaborative work between the researchers and the team members.
- The data can be imported or exported in various formats that come with the tool.
How to choose the best reference management software
While choosing the best reference management software, it is important to think that software is going to be used. Is there any requirement of place for storing and organizing the resources for thesis? Is there any need of the collaborative work and you want to share the file with other researchers? Is there any requirement for creating bibliography for class paper? For choosing the functionalities it is very important to understand what exactly is needed out of the software and even the functionalities.
Cost- There are few reference management solutions that are open source and can be used by users without any cost. However, the software that are available free of cost offers restricted or less storage and needs additional cost for more storage. There are few vendors that offers the discounts especially for students whereas few of them do not offer any discounts. For selecting the right software, it is important to compare the prices of various software and then select yhe right one.
Technical support- The software that are available free of cost comes with the technical support that is in the technical forums or most of the times all the information related to the software is shared directly online on the company website. Users need to think if they really need technical support or not. If they can resolve problems on their own then there is no requirement of live tech support. However, if they need tech support then they need to choose the vendor that offers technical support 24/7.
Learning curve- If there is any new investment on the software then the users need to spend time in understanding the software and its functionalities. There are few software that are user friendly and comes with multiple study materials, tutorials or trainings directly on their website or upon request.
Computer requirements- The users will have to ensure that the software that is selected is compatible with the computer that the user is having. There are few software that are not compatible with the Mac or Linux systems or may be in need of high memory.
Online storage and synchronization- Based on the storage required by the users, it is important to check if the software you are selecting is providing that much storage or not. If the software is free then usually they have some additional cost for buying the software storage. Software may or may not have that ability of synchronizing the data to an online storage or on cloud. If user is using numerous computer systems and need the data to be available on all the devices or need the backup on one device, then the software must come with the feature of online sync for fulfilling this demand.
Word processor plug in- Most of the reference management tools provides some kinds of word processors plug ins so that users are able to convert the data to the desired references list or in the text citation as they are typing the data. If this functionality of the software is very much needed then it is important to ensure that the software you are selecting offers this feature. You also need to check which word processors program is compatible with the tool and how it will work on the users system.
Open URL resolver- The open url will enable users in finding the full text for resource that are available in the library. All the tools do not offer this functionality and neither it is the common feature provided.
Collaboration and networking- There are few reference management tools that offers the functionality of collaboration and networking. This feature enables users in sharing anjd editing the document along with other researchers or team members and also let the researcher to see that who are the researchers working in the same field. For networking, it is important to check which software is used by other researchers in the same field so that you invest in the same software and get chance of networking with the researchers in the same field.
Transferability- It is natural that after certain time the requirements changes so, it is important to see if the software provides seamless data transfer from it to another software. The ease of using and the time consumed for this task should be minimal.
Limitations of using the Reference management tool
Every software has some advantages as well as some limitations. There are many individuals who follow the traditional method of writing bibliography and working on it completely manually. There is nothing wrong in following the traditional method but it is also important to give the best reference management software a try and then choose the best solution for working. Few limitations of the reference management tool are as mentioned below:
It is time consuming tool when it comes to adding the entries and slows down the work. It may lead in breaking the work link and user may have to spend time to add the references.
Many software lags the connectivity with the text editors like Microsoft word. This has enhanced from last couple of years but still has huge scope of improvement.
The software comes with the varied standard styles, but not necessary that the styles provided by this tool are as per your requirement. Many a times you need to design your own style. You may also need to make minor changes in the style selected by the software considering the relevant one.
Mendeley provides a desktop application, mobile app, Word extension, and Chrome browser extension. Due to this omnichannel approach, the software can be easily accessed across multiple devices. Its versatility extends across college papers, research proposals, literature reviews, and reports. Not only does it make referencing easier, it also promotes collaboration and exploration via its academic social network which hosts over 30 million papers on its database.
EasyBib Reference Management Software provides simple tools to combat information literacy. The web app helps students determine appropriate and credible sources and cite sources while avoiding plagiarism errors in writings. It is a widely used software among beginning researchers as well as advanced professionals and institutions. This sophisticated app connects large teams through cloud servers allowing companies to access trusted resources and articles.
It is an award-winning data managing software for Windows and Mac OS X. It sync option helps the user to collaborate with other users as well as incorporate editing options for them. The program has made a name for itself, among other reference managing apps, and is widely used with customers all over the world.
EndNote is an effective reference management software that makes it easy for users to coordinate with colleagues and team members. EndNote Desktop uses the Journal Term Lists by which the users can convert a full version of the journal-title into an abbreviated one, or vice versa, depending on the referencing style. EndNote pricing is also very attractive for any business.
It is a user-friendly source of compiling information regarding a particular research work on the application or operating system that one is using, and it links to Word to help one save time. Seamlessly streamline work and fulfill the requirements of college professors and satisfy clients who require submission of reports. It is not only useful in a college setting but also useful when making a research proposal, a report, or literature reviews. Most clients require submitted reports.
It has found recognition across the world for making citations easier than ever before. With the Chrome extension, citation can be generated automatically by browsing any website and clicking on a button. It is conveniently available in the Chrome Store.
JabRef Reference Management Software is used across several business organizations and academic institutions for research work, it allows for the creation of new citation styles. Scholars can look up key topics for research from sources like CiteSeerX, Google Scholar, Springer, and so on. Importing bibliographic information has been made easier than ever before with the Firefox Add-On available with this software.
It can export data in various formats to different reference management programs. It imports references from other programs either from EndNote or, via RIS export file. It helps in the organization of research projects and manages time. It can keep track of all sources that have been read and their contents. It is a comprehensive academic tool that can be used to enhance productivity and support the process.
BibDesk reference management software is an excellent tool for bibliography management BibTex file management. This makes the application a helpful tool while writing essays or compiling research papers. It enables the user to organize and maintain a massive collection of files in PDF and other formats. On top of that, BibDesk offers an external bibliographic database for the import and export of data.
BibSonomy reference management software combines together the features of bookmarking and team-oriented publications. This enables the user to store and categorize various bookmarks in a secure and tidy manner. It also allows users to export their posts in other formats such as EndNote or HTML. Posts and lists in this software can be tagged to arrange them in a definite manner, thus making it easy for the user to sort through and search among various projects.
Bibus reference management software is a bibliographical application that grants access to a large number of databases. The main functionality is to make the software package feasible for a multi-user purpose so that there can be close collaboration between writers. Bibus reference management software comprises features that make it popular among commercial databases. It allows the user to collect, store, and analyze various reference links and bibliographies. It reduces time significantly and makes the projects more efficient.
Bookends reference management software is made by Sonny Software, and its function is to search the internet to retrieve reference links and links to useful pdf files. These search abilities are also present in Reference Miner, but it lacks bibliographical management features. It is popular among students because of its highly attractive, user-friendly and configurable displays.
Citationsy reference management software is a handy tool when it comes to neat and tidy organization and categorization of references and bibliography. The tool allows users to cite websites, books, journals, etc. It supports various formats and export files as well. It is a useful tool for students for their essays and assignments and people who write extensive and detailed projects/articles.
The CiteULike reference management software web-services can be accessed from any device with a stable internet connection. With more than 900000 visits on the site per month to more than 3.5 million online material currently bookmarked, CiteULike has become a widely used trustworthy site for its users. The lengthy references that take hours to be copied physically, with CiteULike, can be extracted within seconds. The popular posts and articles are recommended to users, along with access to articles being read and shared among the user’s peers. It offers the most effective organization of these online papers that saves a ton load of time and effort.
Docear reference management software offers mind-mapping, reference, and citation management for those who want to streamline documents, especially for research purposes. It provides plenty of support and useful guidance through its official user manual. To get the full capability of the software, the PDF Xchange viewer must be downloaded. The extensive capabilities of Docear reference management software, coupled with a host of brilliant tools that includes a recommender system, makes it a compelling software. The ability to create customized monitoring nodes and mind maps, to synchronize different software and rectify troubleshooting problems add to its enhanced functionality.
Qiqqa reference management software is a Quantile company’s initiative that has gained popularity among customers for its impressive features and cost-free option. Professionals have found great use of the collaboration option of a group library for working on business-oriented data management or research-oriented data analysis. The easy access and use of properties of the program make it even more appealing in the market. The Create feature turned out to be very beneficial and highly appreciated among users.
RefME reference management software is an abbreviation for "Referencing, Made Easy." The software takes the stress and guesswork out of the referencing process and offers a system that is effective and efficient. It makes referencing easier as it is supported on every browser like Chrome, Mozilla, Internet Explorer and even other Android platforms, thus aiding productivity.
RefWorks reference management software provides an opportunity to create personal and customized databases and use them for reaching activities. References are quickly and easily imported to the text files, and users can automatically insert the references from their databases to their own documents. It helps to procure formatted bibliographies and drafts in very less time. The browser-based interface provides consistent experience regardless of workplaces.