Reference Management Software

Best Reference Management Software include:

Evernote, OneNote, Mendeley, Zotero, EndNote, ReadCube Papers, Citationsy and Refapp.

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Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A "note" can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten "ink" note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into…


Microsoft's OneNote is a digital note-taking app, supporting photos, annotating, web page clipping, emailing, and synchronizing notes across devices.


Mendeley, an Elsevier company headquartered in London, offers their eponymous reference management software suite, including Mendeley Reference Manager, Web Importer, the Citation Plugin add-on, available in Premium package.

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Clarivate Analytics headquartered in Philadelphia offers EndNote, a reference library and management software. Endnote helps users save time, stay organized, collaborate with colleagues, and get published.


Zotero is a free reference management tool developed as a project developed at Carnegie Mellon and supported by a small team at George Mason University.

ReadCube Papers

Digital Science company ReadCube now offers Papers, a reference management application.

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MyBib is a free and open source citation management tool for educators, from a collaboration of university researchers led by Harvard University.

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refbase is an open source web reference and research tool.

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Sorc'd is a reference management app from the small company of the same name in Chicago.

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WIKINDX is an open source bibliographic tool available free at


Faculty of 1000 (F1000) headquartered in London offers F1000Workspace, a reference management and notational research tool.

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Matter pulls everything a user wants to read into one place, with tools for curation, retention of audio, used for Internet research.

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LINER is a productivity tool that enables users to highlight notes and search items to keep track of details and find information faster using search tools, as well as keep track of references. It is deployed through a web browser, and is available via iOS and Android mobile apps.…

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Weava is a workspace for academic research from the company of the same name headquartered in Hong Kong, that enables users to highlight, organize and collaborate on research and academic studies. The tool boasts over 700,000 users.

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Chegg headquartered in Santa Clara offers, a bibliographic and reference mangement software service, as well as plagiarism checking tool.

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Cite This for Me

Cite This for Me (now merged with the former RefME service) is an online citation and refernece management solution now owned and supported by Chegg headquartered in Santa Clara.

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Swipenote is a clip tool that enables users to save web and social content in a click, so that they can organize and collaborate with others. Users can create teammates, share content, assign tasks using personalized Workspace (or subspace). Collaborate and track any assigned tasks…

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Qiqqa is a reference manager app for researchers and institutions available free or on a paid plan which supports annotation report filtering, document sharing, sync with private intranet, .pdf conversion tools, and other conveniences.

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JabRef is a reference management tool that is open source.

Learn More About Reference Management Software

What is Reference Management Software?

Reference management software is used by students and professionals to source citation material with more accuracy and efficiency. Though commonly implemented for academic purposes, this software is also well suited for projects that involve business presentations and reports. It generally provides multiple options for citation formatting. This software acts as a single-use correct reference generator or as a repository for long-term projects.

When assembling research projects, an accurate citation page is crucial. Reference management software helps generate citations in the proper format. It saves time by automating the process of creating bibliographies, footnotes, and reference sections.

Reference management software is capable of integrating with other tools, which is useful for document creation, file storage, and file sharing. It also improves organization, allowing users to have a personalized research library in which resources can be saved for later use/retrieval.

Reference Management Software Features

Reference management software provides the following features:

  • Support for a wide range of citation styles (e.g. APA, MLA, etc.)
  • Automated creation of bibliographical entries, or whole bibliography
  • In-line citation creation
  • Add annotations, notes, to documents
  • Document or reference import from outside sources
  • Extraction of citation data (e.g. author, publication name, etc) from imported documents
  • Synchronize data across shared or stored documents
  • Create a research profile, add publications to a scientific database via the software
  • Style & accidental plagiarism check

Reference Management Software Comparison

When comparing reference management software, consider the following:

  • Use Case: Does your organization consist of a trained research staff or more non-research personnel? Some products are designed specifically for researchers, and they may have a steeper learning curve for other team members.
  • Integration: Whether you use Microsoft Word or Google Docs, ensure that the software integrates with your word processor.
  • Ease of Use: Since this software is meant to simplify the writing and research process, make sure the interface is user-friendly.

Pricing Information

Reference management software usually includes a free version for individuals who are working on a one-time project. These versions allow a limited number of collaborators and users. Paid subscriptions typically cost between $5 and $20 per month, depending on whether you are purchasing as a student or business professional. Some vendors may offer their services as a one-time purchase, ranging from $100 to $250. Most will offer a free trial.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does reference management software do?

Reference management software allows users to correctly cite sources in their papers. Also known as citation management tools, the software can create citations in your desired style (e.g. MLA, APA, etc.). It automates the creation of bibliographies, footnotes, or reference sections in research papers. This software organizes personal research libraries and manages access to an outside reference source (e.g. web magazines, literature databases).

What are the benefits of using reference management software?

Reference management software saves time on creating the proper works cited page. It also organizes resources for future access. This software enables users to focus on their research and the quality of their projects.

What are the best reference management software products?

How much does reference management software cost?

Reference management software usually includes a free version for individuals who are working on a one-time project. These versions allow a limited number of collaborators and users. Paid subscriptions typically cost between $5 and $20 per month, depending on whether you are purchasing as a student or business professional.