Paper managers

What apps do people like for managing tech papers?

Oh, @bencoman - I have thoughts here…. let me vent… I mean share…

I’ve used quite a few over the years and my current top three list is below – but it depends on your operating system a bit:




N.B. For less serious cataloguing I just save stuff to “Pocket” ( in the browser.

More Thoughts:
Mendeley is owned by Elsevier (booo hisss…! :frowning_face:) and so I am not super comfortable supporting them, but Zotero is a nice open source alternative but it’s not as function rich, but still good. I loved Papers2 when I was working mostly on mac and if they had unix and windows versions I’d totally use them everywhere. What I mainly look for in a ref manager is that it supports my both my two main workflows: 1) in microsoft Word, and 2) using .bib library exports for LaTeX. I might be weird in that regard. I had several bad experiences with Endnote ( when I was a student and so I will never recommend them, but many academic institutes sign up for Endnote through their library etc.

That might’ve been more than you were after… sorry…


For information and not endorsement, Mendeley is workable on Unix as it still has the LibreOffice plugins from this page.

I’ve also found their quality has gone way downhill, at least on Windows. I can’t stand using it any more. I’m trying Zotero instead.


Zotero is quite good, I have been using it for a couple years now.

There is a good browser extension that auto-recognizes paper and with a single click you can save the paper metadata, full-text, and PDF (if available). You can also open the paper in Zotero and annotate it like a normal PDF (highlighting and sticky notes). And of course one of the most useful parts for an academic researcher like me is that it automatically deals with inserting and updating citations and bibliography in a word processor when writing a manuscript or other document.

It’s also completely open-source and there are community-built plugins available too (I don’t use any though). Highly recommend using for anyone interested! :slightly_smiling_face:


And AFAICT there no longer have a mobile client on ios!

Trying Zotero as well :slight_smile:

Zotero is excellent if you want a system to manage papers with annotations. If you use Obsidian or other such systems to store your annotations, it gives you a link back to the attachments. You can move your attachments in Zotero without worrying about updating your notes as these file links are maintained.


I’m also using Zotero and can recommend it. Just recently the iOS app was released. With the mobile app you can comfortably add new papers to your library or browse existing ones directly from your phone. This is quite nice as I follow quite a few people on Twitter that regularly share research papers. In the past I had to:

  1. Open a tab in my mobile browser
  2. Send the tab to the desktop browser
  3. Use the Zotero desktop browser extension to upload the paper to my library

Now I can just click on the link in Twitter from my phone and send it to Zotero.