10 features of the ideal reference manager

  1. Displays and sort references neatly and tidily
  2. Organising references is intuitive and aligns with what I want to do with them – search, group, subgroup, share, export in a range of formats. Tags are automatically assigned to references in groups.
  3. Journal article import is seamless and accurate – this has improved vastly in the last 5 years, with RIS now in common use and ‘send to citation manager’ buttons
  4. Reports and webpages also come in with accurate details (depends on good metadata!)
  5. It’s easy to format perfect bibliographies without manual ‘fixing’ – e.g. bulk conversion to sentence style titles
  6. Online and desktop versions have clear integration – no more confusingly similar appearances and lack of clarity as to which you are dealing with.
  7. Large libraries are stable (no more crashes)
  8. Rights management is incorporated, making it legal and transparent to share reference full texts
  9. Reference mapping and data visualisation are common place
  10. Text mining and AI help automate summaries of literature

Note that I haven’t included ‘must be free’ as developing these features will need funding. A freemium model would be good…

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