Biomedical Science

Citation Managers


How Do I Choose a Citation Manager?

Citation management (aka reference management) tools enable you to:

  • Import citations from databases, catalogs, PDFs. etc, often through a browser plug-in
  • Store and organize references and/or PDFs in either a desktop or online account
  • Find duplicate citations; add notes or annotate your citations
  • Create bibliographies and in-text citations using different citation styles
  • Share your digital library and collaborate with colleagues
With so many different types of citation managers, how do you decide which one is right for you?  Below you will find a comparison between several citation management tools. If you would like more information on which one to use for your project, contact us via the Ask Us service.


Cost: Free to all
Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, browser add-on
  • Freely available to all; can take with you if you leave UVA 
  • Good option for collecting many types of literature, including web resources, through direct import or browser plug-in
  • Can easily import PDFs automatically
  • Easy to share citations with other users
  •  Limited free storage space (300MB)
  •  Limited number of bibliographic styles, and difficult to edit styles
  •  Limited functionality for removing duplicates
  •  No dedicated tech support (help is through online forums)

Read more about Zotero


EndNote Desktop

Cost: EndNote 20, a $249.95 one-time purchase price for faculty and staff. There is a discounted price for students of $115 - see to purchase a licensed copy.
Platform: Windows, Mac
  • Good option for major research projects; can handle a large number of references
  • 7000+ predefined bibliographic formatting styles and ability to create styles
  • Sharing options for your citations ("libraries") with up to 100 people
  • Can configure to retrieve PDFs
  • Dedicated customer support staff
  • Costs money
  • Browser plug-in to import citations from articles or other Web documents is available, but has limited functionality
  • Learning curve to utilize EndNote's full functionality

EndNote Basic aka EndNote Online

Cost: Free, and, while you are at UVA, EndNote Basic accounts have additional features due to our Web of Science subscription. See this comparison chart.
Platform: Web-based
  • Web-based, so can be accessed from any computer 
  • Large storage capacity since UVA subscribes to Web of Science
  • Limited capabilities compared to EndNote Desktop
  • Requires internet connection
  • Browser plug-in is available to capture citations from Web documents, but has limited functionality

Sciwheel (formerly F1000Workspace)

Cost: Free via a UVA license to Sciwheel and F1000
Platform: Web-based
  • Web-based, so very portable
  • Additional features like article recommendations
  • Tech support
  • Subscription-based; so access could be lost if UVA cancels subscription


Cost: Freely available to all, with upgrades available (additional storage space)
Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux; has a Web syncing option
  • Designed as a PDF manager (ability to create a citation from PDF)
  • Social networking capabilities, find researchers in your field 
  • Easily share citations with other users
  • Need to check on the accuracy of citation information
  • Free version has limited storage space for PDFs 
  • No database search from within the program
  • Lack of dedicated tech support


Guidance for UVA Health faculty, staff, and students is available by appointment:

  • Help with choosing the right citation manager for you
  • Basic guidance on citation management features and getting started (for Zotero and Sciwheel only)

Just Ask Us via the link at left - we are happy to provide help via email, phone, or in-person.

Moving from RefWorks

Please Note: UVa's RefWorks subscription expired on August 31, 2019. Individual subscriptions are not available.
Need to recover citations from your RefWorks account? As of March 2020 RefWorks tech support still was able to access citations from your account: email to request an export of your citations.
Below are instructions on how to export your RefWorks citations to several popular citation management programs:

How to export your citations/bibliographies from RefWorks to Zotero
​(see the U of Minnesota's guide with screen captures, or follow the instructions below)

  • After logging in to RefWorks, locate the Quick Access Toolbar on the bottom of the right-hand menu
  • Click Export
  • You can choose to export your whole database of references by choosing All in List, or, you can export folder by folder by clicking on a folder from the folder area at right. 
  • Under Select an Export Format, choose Bibliographic Software (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite)
  • Click on the Export References button. A browser window will appear with your references.
  • Right-click in the browser window and choose Save as…. Save the export on your desktop as a .txt file and name it to match your RefWorks folder.
  • Open your Zotero desktop app and select File, then Import.
  • Leave the choice "A file (BibTeX, RIS, Zotero RDF, etc.)" selected and click Next.
  • Find your downloaded file and click Open. Leave the next screen with Options as is, then click Next.
  • The citations will be imported into Zotero with the name you used to save it as its Zotero folder name.
Please Note:
  • File attachments will not transfer from RefWorks to Zotero. You can save the attachments on your computer and add them to Zotero manually by dragging the PDF to the appropriate citation or adding it as an attachment to the citation.   
  • The Personal Notes and User fields in RefWorks will not transfer to Zotero. You can copy and paste this information into another field manually.
  • You cannot use the Zotero Word plugin in a document that contains RefWorks Write-N-Cite formatted citations or bibliographies.

How to export your citations/bibliographies from RefWorks to EndNote

Please consult this guide

**if you are on a Mac with Mohave or a later Mac operating system, you may need to follow these procedures to get a file EndNote on your Mac will recognize.

1. Follow the steps 1-4 in the above guide to Export citations: once you get a new browser window with your citations, IGNORE THAT and return to the RefWorks window, where you should see this message in the lower right of the screen:

2. Click on the link to email your citations.
3. You'll receive a txt file in your email. Save this file to your computer, and follow Steps 6-10 in the guide above to import the citations into EndNote.

 How to export your citations/bibliographies from RefWorks to Sciwheel (F1000Workspace)  

Please consult this guide

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