Collecting, organizing, and citing references from peer-reviewed journal articles is an essential component of scientific research and publishing. But for many researchers, managing references is a tedious and difficult task.
Reference management software, which has been around for decades, has automated the process to make it a whole lot easier than it used to be. Before reference management software existed, researchers had to manage their citations manually, with index cards and makeshift filing systems.
In recent years, these modern solutions have improved by leaps and bounds. Today’s multipurpose reference management solutions go beyond the basics of collecting and organizing bibliographic references to automate and simplify related tasks as well.
Moving Beyond the Basics
There are a wide range of reference managers available today, with an equally wide range of features to choose from. Common examples of things you can do with various reference management solutions include:
- Search & import citations via discovery portals (PubMed, Google Scholar, etc.)
- Import citations from other reference managers
- Organize references into folders and favorites
- Add tags and annotations to references
- Share references and collaborate with colleagues
- Generate bibliographies in selected citation formats
- Access bibliographies from any location via browser-based solutions
- Integrate with word processing software for seamless citing and writing
Some of the most innovative features to emerge in recent years are focused on incorporating literature management directly into the reference management workflow. Here are a few examples:
- On-Demand PDF Access: Enables individual researchers to purchase or rent full-text scholarly journal articles—from within the reference manager—for immediate download.
- Central PDF Library: Enables everyone within an organization to access and share copyright-compliant scholarly articles, while avoiding the cost of duplicate orders. This type of advanced functionality can be particularly useful for corporate research centers that want to track research and cut costs.
- Content Awareness: Features like journal table-of-contents alerts and ‘smart’ bibliographies (which automatically collect content based on keywords) make it easy for researchers to keep up with scholarly literature that’s relevant to their work.
Choose Your Reference Manager Wisely
Automated solutions can help researchers master the art of reference management to work faster, with less frustration and better results.
But there's no one solution that will always be the best choice for every researcher. Because no two reference managers are exactly alike, it’s important to take a hard look at your specific workflow needs to decide which features matter most to you. For example, if you typically collaborate with colleagues on research projects, you might confine your search to browser-based solutions, which enable easy access from any location. If you’re planning to author a scholarly paper, word processing integration might be your top priority. In addition to specific features, other criteria might include things like ease of use, price, and customer support. If budget is a concern for you, for example, you may decide to limit your search to free reference management solutions.
There’s a Gadget for That!
At Reprints Desk, our reference management solution comes in the form of a web-based app—or Gadget. The Reference Manager Gadget is a multi-purpose solution that offers integrated discovery, easy literature access, bibliographic reference management, and copyright-managed PDF collections.
From within the Gadget interface, users can:
- Search 15,000+ scholarly journals and PubMed
- Manage personal and group bibliographies
- Tag references by keyword in self-populating folders
- Track research with journal TOC feeds
- Purchase full-text scholarly journal articles on the spot
- Author papers with inline citing and writing in Microsoft Word
If you’re curious whether the Reference Manager Gadget is the best solution for your research workflow, you can learn more at https://info.reprintsdesk.com/gadget-store/reference-manager or test it out any time with a free Gadget Store account.