Reference managers 

You can use reference managers to organize your references and corresponding articles in one place, and to collect, edit and share them with others if you're working on a project. You can add the references to your paper and generate a bibliography in a citation style such as APA. Popular free reference managers are: 



Mendeley is a reference manager that you can download and use on various devices. You can import PDFs and references from catalogues, databases and websites, store and organize them, read and annotate them, and share them with others and in groups. The free account has 2 GB of storage, and you can create five groups of up to 25 people. Mendeley generates reference lists and can import the references into the text, for example in Word. 

Pro: You can easily drag and drop PDFs into Mendeley and save them. A reference is created from the metadata of the PDF.  

Con: the 2 GB storage space may be limited.

More information:


Rayyan is a free online tool for the fast and easy screening, analysis and extraction of data. It is recommended for a large number of references or for systematic reviews. You can export citations from a management tool or directly from the databases themselves. The citations are easily shareable among several reviewers and blind screening is also available. Rayyan uses tagging and filtering to code and organize references and to screen, analyse, and extract data from systematic reviews. Rayyan also has a free mobile app (iOS/Android). It does not have a writing tool. 

Pro: No difference in appearance on personal computer, tablet or smartphone.

More information:

Rayyan tutorial



Scribbr is an easy-to-use citation generator. You look up your source using the title, URL, ISBN or DOI and the Scribbr generates citation in a style of your choice (e.g. APA). It also gives an example of the in-text citation. You can create a reference list and export it to Word and it is possible to save your reference lists after creating a free account. You can also have your reference list checked in the APA citation checker, currently still for free. 

Pro: Accurate compared to other reference managers. The knowledgebase offers videos articles on researching, writing and citing. 

Con: No insertion options for references in the text (writing tool). 

More information:



Zotero is a free, open source citation management tool. This easy-to-use tool helps you to collect, organize, annotate, cite and share research. Zotero has connector for most web browsers. The connector lets you add references from catalogues, databases or webpages to your Zotero library. Zotero works with Word, Google Docs, OpenOffice and Libre Office. 

Pro: Can import references from databases and webpages with the Zotero browser connector 

More information: