Organization and Productivity
Scientific writing is already enough of a challenge. Don’t let poor organization drain your productivity. There are lots of handy apps that boost both for researchers. Here is our run-down of the best apps that help academics make the most of the precious time for thinking and writing.
Manage Citations and Literature
- RefWorks – Best for fast pulling of articles; and imports and exports data to all other citation managers.
- Mendeley – Best for marking up papers and collaborative tagging
- Zotero – Best for non-standard citations
- EndNote – Best for multiple citation styles.
|I Need To
|Work from multiple computers or locations
|RefWorks works from an internet connection and syncs to all other devices. EndNote Online can be used on its own or with EndNote desktop. Zotero saves your citation library to your local computer and syncs with multiple computers so you can work from home, work, or school. Mendeley is a program that lives on your local computer, but syncs with a web account.
|Work without an Internet connection
|Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote store your citation libraries locally on your computer.
|Archive web pages and import citations from sites such as Amazon, Flickr, and ArtSTOR
|Zotero allows you to easily save snapshots of web pages and annotate them within your citation library. It is a great tool for scraping citation information from web-based publications and some commercial and social networking sites.
|Work on a group project or share my citations with others
|Zotero allows you to share your citations through shared folders. You can give individuals or groups permissions to add and edit the citations in the shared folder. Mendeley allows you to share citations and documents with a group of up to 2 other users, or create a public reading list that is open to all. EndNote allows sharing of your entire library with up to 100 people and EndNote Online allows sharing of one group from your library.
|Work with unusual or complex citation styles, cite unusual document types or create my own document type
|EndNote has more citation styles than any other program, more flexibility, ability to customize styles.
|Work extensively with PDFs
|Mendeley has a better ability to extract citation information automatically from PDFs, PDF full-text search-ability, and a social networking component to see what others in your field are reading and commenting on (particularly in the sciences).
Projects and Time
RescueTime – Track where your time actually goes so you can habit swap and make better choices that support your research.
Trello – Keep track of important projects like research papers using this super-visual, collaborative project-management app.
EverNote – Powerful notetaking app that allows you to keep track of links, photos, checklists, tables, attachments, and audio recordings on any device. Functions like a virtual filing cabinet using multiple levels of organization.
Google Scholar – Powerful, free tool to search for topics, papers, and related works; and then create alerts for when new articles come out.
Networking and Conferences
750Words – Join over 450,000 other writers who have made the commitment to write 750 words every day. The practice of daily writing, especially when we don’t have a looming date, helps us develop a writing habit that helps when we’re stuck.
Paper Crowd – Search for conferences and networking opportunities in dozens of fields.
Freedom – Regain control of your attention by blocking all software distractions, including social media, shopping, and video games.
Momentum – Start your day with a clear focus on what is most important. This app provides a daily dashboard to increase focus.
MyNoise – Reduce distractions from noisy environments by creating a soundscape that helps you relax and focus.
Pocket – Bookmarking app that helps you flag what you think is interesting so you can stay focused now and come back to the new thing later.
Questions? Notice something is missing and want to suggest a resource?