I had planned to do some kind of a “review” for reference managers. However, the author has done a better job than I could do. His workflow dictates Paperpile.
I like the application, but their web service is entirely dependent on Google. I dislike Google Drive- it syncs horribly, and there’s no comparison for Dropbox.
Therefore, my workflow is Zotero> Zotfile. I have Dropbox “watch folder”, and Zotfile can also extract annotations to put in Zotero notes.
Briefly, the steps are: get paper (Scan/Import), file paper (Organization), read paper (Reading/Note-taking), and later, find paper (Storage/Search and Citing), with the additional requirement of syncing (Offline/Sync) between two devices – I do all my writing on my laptop, and ideally, I will be doing all my reading on the iPad. Each software is judged based on those categories, so that if you skip some of those steps in your workflow, hopefully the other sections will still be informative.
If you’re just starting your research career, be it graduate or undergraduate, I hope this guide will inform you on which app you want to use for the next few years based on your needs. And if you’re a seasoned academic that just happens to be displeased with your reference manager, keep on reading.
I am looking at Refden- a new kid on the block. I got an email from them yesterday, and I’ll be looking into it. Bookends is another alternative, but the only advantage with the current version is Apple Scripts support. It is useful for automating, but it has a mish-mash of the UI. I inherently dislike its built-in browser because my Vivaldi is far better geared for academic research (and general browsing).