Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Good review practice: a researcher guide to systematic review methodology in the sciences of food and health

Reference management tools

Reference management software programmes are not bespoke systematic review management tools, but they can be extremely useful for systematic reviews.  

Because you must run searches in multiple databases, you will collect many duplicate results.  A citation manager makes identifying and removing duplicates relatively easy. 

Some programmes can also automatically link records to full text of articles a university library subscribes to.

Researchers affiliated with a university will often be offered reference management software access, training, and support through the library.

Many systematic review management tools will also allow for the bulk transfer of records from reference management software after deduplication has taken place. 

Comparing software

Reference Management Software 

Many reference management software programmes are available, so this list is by no means complete.   What you use might be influenced by what is offered to you through your institution, or by what your collaborators are using.  This chart gives a sense of some features to consider when you decide which programme to use.    

EndNote Desktop
  • Cost: Subscription (possibly free through your institution)
  • Office use: online or offline
  • Annotation of PDFs?: Yes
  • Word processor compatibility: Microsoft word
  • Deduplication: yes
  • Website: EndNote | The best reference management tool
 
Mendeley
  • Cost: Basic account free
  • Office use: online or offline
  • Annotation of PDFs?: Yes
  • Word processor compatibility: Microsoft word, Libreoffice
  • Deduplication: yes
  • Website: Mendeley - Reference Management Software
 
ReadCube Papers
  • Cost: Subscription
  • Office use: Online
  • Annotation of PDFs?: Yes
  • Word processor compatibility: Microsoft word, GoogleDocs, Pages, Overleaf
  • Deduplication: yes
  • Website: Home - Papers (papersapp.com)

 

Sciwheel

 

Zotero 
  • Cost: Free with option to purchase additional storage
  • Office use: Online or offline  
  • Annotation of PDFs?: Yes
  • Word processor compatibility: Microsoft word, LibreOffice
  • Deduplication: yes
  • Website:  Zotero | Your personal research assistant

Note that these programmes, as direct competitors with one another, introduce updates and improvements which might not be reflected in the information above.   Please check the website of each for the latest features.