30 Tools and Resources for Academic Research

9 min read

Merriam-Webster defines “research” as “careful or diligent search; studious inquiry or examination; the collecting of information about a particular subject”. It’s not easy to conduct academic research, so here we round up 30 academic tools and resources that will facilitate your research in managing, indexing, and web scraping.

top 30 tools for academic research

Looking for data resources for your research? Find it in 70 Amazing Free Data Resources you should know, covering government, crime, health, finances, social media, journalism, real estate, etc.

10 Research Management Tools

1. MarginNote

License: Commercial

MarginNote is a powerful reading tool for learners. Whether you are a student, a teacher, a researcher, a lawyer, or someone with a curious mind to learn, MarginNote can help you quickly organize, study and manage large volumes of PDFs and EPUBs. All-in-one learning app enables you to highlight PDF and EPUB, take notes, create the mind map, review flashcards, and saves you from switching endlessly between different Apps. It is available on Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

2. Zotero

License: Free

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research. It is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It supports managing bibliographic data and related research materials (such as PDF files). Notable features include web browser integration, online syncing, generation of in-text citations, footnotes, and bibliographies, as well as integration with the word processors Microsoft Word and LibreOffice Writer.

3. RefWorks

License: Free

RefWorks is a web-based commercial reference management software package. Users’ reference databases are stored online, allowing them to be accessed and updated from any computer with an internet connection. Institutional licenses allow universities to subscribe to RefWorks on behalf of all their students, faculty, and staff. Individual licenses are also available. The software enables linking from a user’s RefWorks account to electronic editions of journals to which the institution’s library subscribes.

4. EndNote

License: Commercial

EndNote is the industry standard software tool for publishing and managing bibliographies, citations, and references on the Windows and Macintosh desktop. EndNote X9 is the reference management software that not only frees you from the tedious work of manually collecting and curating your research materials and formatting bibliographies, but also gives you greater ease and control in coordinating with your colleagues.

5. Mendeley

License: Free

Mendeley Desktop is free academic software (Windows, Mac, Linux) for organizing and sharing research papers and generating bibliographies with 1GB of free online storage to automatically back up and synchronize your library across desktop, web, and mobile.

6. Readcube

License: Commercial

ReadCube is a desktop and browser-based program for managing, annotating, and accessing academic research articles. It can sync your entire library including notes, lists, annotations, and even highlights across all of your devices including your desktop (Mac/PC), mobile devices (iOS/Android/Kindle), or even through the Web.

7. Qiqqa

License: Free

Qiqqa is a free research and reference manager. Its free version supports supercharged PDF management, annotation reports, expedition, Ad-supported, and 2GB free online storage.

8. Docear

License: Free

Docear offers a single-section user interface that allows the most comprehensive organization of your literature; a literature suite concept that combines several tools in a single application (pdf management, reference management, mind mapping, …); A recommender system that helps you to discover new literature: Docear recommends papers which are free, in full-text, instantly to download, and tailored to your information needs.

9. Paperpile

License: Commercial

Paperpile is a web-based commercial reference management software, with a special emphasis on integration with Google Docs and Google Scholar. Parts of Paperpile are implemented as a Google Chrome browser extension

10. JabRef

License: Free

JabRef is an open-source bibliography reference manager. The native file format used by JabRef is BibTeX, the standard LaTeX bibliography format. JabRef is a desktop application that runs on the Java VM (version 8), and works equally well on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Entries can be searched in external databases and BibTeX entries can be fetched from there. Example sources include arXiv, CiteseerX, Google Scholar, Medline, GVK, IEEEXplore, and Springer.

10 Reference/Index Resources

1. Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines. It includes most peer-reviewed online academic journals and books, conference papers, theses and dissertations, preprints, abstracts, technical reports, and other scholarly literature, including court opinions and patents. You can extract these academic data easily by scraping Google Scholar search results.

2. arXiv

arXiv (pronounced “archive”) is a repository of electronic preprints (known as e-prints) approved for publication after moderation, that consists of scientific papers in the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy, electrical engineering, computer science, quantitative biology, statistics, and quantitative finance, which can be accessed online. In many fields of mathematics and physics, almost all scientific papers are self-archived on the arXiv repository.

3. Springer

Springer Science+Business Media or Springer, part of Springer Nature, has published more than 2,900 journals and 290,000 books, which covers science, humanities, technical and medical, etc.

4. Hyper Articles en Ligne

Hyper Articles en Ligne (HAL) is an open archive where authors can deposit scholarly documents from all academic fields, run by the Centre pour la Communication Scientifique direct, which is part of the French National Centre for Scientific Research. An uploaded document does not need to have been published or even to be intended for publication. It may be posted to HAL as long as its scientific content justifies it.


MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, or MEDLARS Online) is a bibliographic database of life sciences and biomedical information. It includes bibliographic information for articles from academic journals covering medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and health care. MEDLINE also covers much of the literature in biology and biochemistry, as well as fields such as molecular evolution.

Compiled by the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), MEDLINE is freely available on the Internet and searchable via PubMed and NLM’s National Center for Biotechnology Information’s Entrez system.

6. ResearchGate

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers[3] to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators.[4] According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education, it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

7. CiteSeerx

Owner: Pennsylvania State University

CiteSeerx ( CiteSeer ) is a public search engine and digital library for scientific and academic papers, primarily in the fields of computer and information science. Many consider it to be the first academic paper search engine and the first automated citation indexing system. CiteSeer holds a United States patent # 6289342, titled “Autonomous citation indexing and literature browsing using citation context”.

8. Scopus

Owner: Elsevier

Scopus is the world’s largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research literature. With over 22,000 titles from more than 5,000 international publishers. You can use this free author lookup to search for any author; or, use the Author Feedback Wizard to verify your Scopus Author Profile.

9. Emerald Group Publishing

Emerald Publishing was founded in 1967, and now manages a portfolio of nearly 300 journals, more than 2,500 books, and over 1,500 teaching cases, covering the fields of management, business, education, library studies, health care, and engineering.

10. Web of Science

Owner: Clarivate Analytics (United States)

Web of Science (previously known as Web of Knowledge) is an online subscription-based scientific citation indexing service originally produced by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)

10 Information Collection Tools

This part divides the 10 information collection tools into 5 information survey tools and 5 data collection tools for further use.

5 Information Survey Tools

1. Google Forms

Google Forms is a simple option for you if you already have a Google account. It supports menu search, a shuffle of questions for randomized order, limiting responses to once per person, custom themes, automatically generating answer suggestions when creating forms, and an “Upload file” option for users answering to share content through.

Moreover, the response can be synced in Google Drive, and users can request file uploads from individuals outside their respective companies, with the storage cap initially set at 1 GB.

2. Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey is quite a well-known name in the field but is also costing. It is a great choice for you if you want an easy user interface for basic surveys, as its free plan supports unlimited surveys, however, each survey is limited to 10 questions.

3. Survey Gizmo

SurveyGizmo can be customized to meet a wide range of data-collection demands. The free version has up to 25 question types, letting you write a survey that caters to specific needs. It also offers nearly 100 different question types that can all be customized to the user’s liking.

4. PollDaddy

PollDaddy is online survey software that allows users to embed surveys on their website or invite respondents via email. Its free version supports unlimited polls, 19 types of questions, and even adding images, videos, and content from YouTube, Flickr, Google Maps, and more.

5. LimeSurvey

LimeSurvey is an open-source survey software as a professional SaaS solution or as a self-hosted Community Edition. LimeSurvey’s professional free version provides 25 responses/month with an unlimited number of surveys, unlimited administrators, and 10 MB of upload storage.

5 Web Data Collection Tools

1. Octoparse

Octoparse is the most easy-to-use web scraping tool for people without a prior tech background. It is widely used among online sellers, marketers, researchers, and data analysts. With its intuitive interface, you can scrape web data within points and clicks. If you are looking for a one-stop data solution, Octoparse also provides a web data service. Or you can simply follow the Octoparse user guide to scrape website data easily for free. It also provides ready-to-use web scraping templates to extract data from Amazon, eBay, Twitter, BestBuy, etc.


Its free version offers unlimited pages per crawl, 10 crawlers, and up to 10,000 records per export. If the data collected is over 10,000, then you can pay $5.9 to export all the data. If you need to track the dynamic data in real time, you may want to use Octoparse’s premium feature: scheduled cloud extraction. Read its customer stories to get an idea of how web scraping enhances businesses.

2. Parsehub

Parsehub is another non-programmer-friendly desktop software for web scraping, which is available to various systems such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Its free version offers 200 pages per crawl, 5 public projects, and 14 days for data retention.

3. Docparser

Docparser converts PDF documents into structured and easy-to-handle data, which allows you to extract specific data fields from PDFs and scanned documents, convert PDF to text, PDF to JSON, PDF to XML, convert PDF tables into CSV or Excel, etc. Its starting price is $19, which includes 100 parsing credits.

4. Scrapy

Scrapy is an open-source and collaborative framework for extracting the data you need from websites. In a fast, simple, yet extensible way.

5. Feedity

Feedity automagically extracts relevant content & data from public web pages to create auto-updating RSS feeds. Instantly convert online news, articles, discussion forums, reviews, jobs, events, products, blogs, press releases, social media posts, or any other Web content into subscribable or publishable notifications. The starter version offers 20 feeds and 6 hours update interval, with a cost of $9 per month.

Final Thoughts

Hope it’s helpful for you after learning the top 30 tools for academic research. Data is becoming more and more important in today’s world, not only for academic research but also for other industries. The basic step of data analysis is data collection, so using a web scraping tool like Octoparse can really save you time and energy.

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