Reference managers 

With reference managers you can organize your references and matching articles in one place. You can collect, edit and share them with others if your 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, share them with others and share them in groups. The free account has 2 GB of storage and you can create 5 groups of up to 25 people. Mendeley generates reference lists and can incorporate the references into the text, e.g. 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.  

Disadvantage: the 2 GB storage space may be limited 

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Rayyan is a free online tool for fast and easy screening, analyzing and extracting data. Recommended for large number of references or (collaborative) systematic reviews. You can export citations from a management tool or directly from the databases themselves. It is easily shareable among several reviewers, blind screening is available. It uses tagging and filtering to code and organize references, screen, analyze, and extract data from systematic reviews. Rayyan also has a free mobile app (iOS/Android). There is no writing tool present. 

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

More information:

Tutorial Rayyan



Scribbr is a citation generator. It is very easy to use. You can look up your source with the title, URL, ISBN or DOI and the Scribbr citation generator creates the 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. 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 that is currently still for free. 

Pro: Accurate compared to other reference managers. The Knowledgebase offers videos articles on Researching, Writing and Citing. 

Disadvantage: no insertion options for references in the text (writing tool). 

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Zotero is a free open source, citation management tool. This easy to use tool helps you 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: importing references from databases and webpages with the Zotero browser connector 

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