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.


Note: UVa's RefWorks subscription expires on August 31, 2019. It is no longer possible to create new RefWorks accounts as of 2/25/19. Existing accounts will remain accessible until the end of the subscription, but no longer (individual subscriptions are not available).
You must export your citations to another citation manager. Library staff are available to answer your questions about transitioning to any of the recommended alternatives below. Please contact us via the Ask Us service link at left.


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 configure to 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


EndNote Desktop

Cost: EndNote X9 $119 one-time purchase price - this is a discounted price for UVA faculty, staff and students - see 
Platform: Windows, Mac
  • Good option for major research projects; can handle a large number of references
  • 5000+ 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 
  • Unlimited storage 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


Cost: Free to us through UVa subscription to F1000
Platform: Web-based; mobile app
  • Unlimited online storage capacity
  • An unlimited number of shared projects with unlimited membership per project
  • Share Word documents with collaborators who can view, highlight, comment and edit citations and bibliography 
  • Limited functionality without internet access
  • Could lose access if UVA cancels F1000 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

ReadCube Papers 

Cost: $5/month academic license, $3/month student license
Platform: Mac, Windows, Android/iOS, Web
  • Bibliographic management and PDF management (ability to create a citation from PDF)
  • Easy linking to full text from citations
  • Costs money


Additional assistance in choosing a citation manager is available to UVA Health System faculty, staff, and students. Just Ask Us via the link at left - we are happy to provide help via email, phone, or in-person.
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