Home Research Guide Best Digital Tools for Academic Research Every Researcher Needs to Know (2023)

Best Digital Tools for Academic Research Every Researcher Needs to Know (2023)

Best Digital Tools for Academic Research
Best Digital Tools for Academic Research

Staying up to date with the latest digital tools (2023) for academic research is an important part of any researcher’s workflow from any domain.

In this blog post, I will share the best emerging digital tools for academic research every researcher needs to know.

Digital tools refer to software applications or programme that are designed to perform specific task using electronic devices such as computer, smart phone etc.

In my earlier blogpost, I already discussed some chrome extensions alongwith their installation for academic research.

Nowadays, online research tools have made research practices easier for the academic fraternity.

In this article, I have assembled some web resources to assist you to conduct research more efficiently and smoothly.

Here, I am going to share with you the following research support tools for data cleaning, literature discovery, and review, citation management, keyword-based search,  check for retraction, statistical analysis, online survey, analytics, etc to make your research more productive.

Let’s get started. 

Here is a list of various types of academic research support tools.


Reference Management and Online Summarizing Tools:


#1 ZoteroBib

Zotero is a free and easy-to-use robust reference management tool that allows you to collect, arrange, cite and share research. 

ZoteroBib can fetch bibliographic data automatically from magazine articles, library catalogs, journal manuscripts, sites such as Amazon and Google Books, etc.

It provides free services that allow you to quickly create a bibliography in any citation style. Besides, you can integrate the source using its URL, ISBN, DOI, PMID, arXiv ID, etc.

In my previous article, I demonstrated how to insert citations into a word document using Zotero


#2 Scholarcy

The Scholarcy is an artificial intelligence-based manuscripts summarization extension that collects text from journal articles, conference papers, book chapters, research manuscripts, and displays an auto-summary of the text.

In addition to the above, it also extracts figures, tables, and bibliographies data, open-access PDFs for each reference from Google ScholararXiv, etc.

After extracting the summary from the article, it generates an interactive summary flashcard.

Besides, you can also export all references in this paper with the Scholarcy. Once you export the references, you can import them into the reference management software.

In my article, I elaborately discussed and demonstrated how to summarize an academic research article.


#3 Semantic Scholar TLDR (Beta Version)

TLDR creates single-sentence article summaries on the search result page. If you want to detect the right research papers then you can use this feature.

Besides, this application lets you swiftly locate the right papers using background knowledge and GPT-3 style natural language processing.

Now, the TLDR is available in beta version for nearly 10 million papers ( computer science field in Semantic Scholar).

If you want to learn more about TLDRs, go through the paper from the Semantic Scholar team.

In my post on a Useful Tool to Generate Single-Sentence Academic Research Paper Summaries, I elaborately discussed and demonstrated the tool. 


#4 Paper Digest

If you want to read more papers in less time then you can use AI-powered Paper Digest. It lets you communicate your research swiftly. 

In addition to that, this tool summarizes your research paper more effective way. You can upload your PDF file to obtain the summarized results.

Now, this application is in beta version and handles more than 2 million scholarly open-access articles. The web app summarizes scholarly articles for the researchers.

This tool allows researchers to quickly grab the key ideas of scholarly literature.


Best Data Visualization Tools for Academic Research:

# Tableau Public

It is free and easy to handle software that lets you visualize and publish your data. Using this tool, you can create interactive graphs, stunning maps, and live dashboards in minutes.

You can save your data visualization in Tableau Public profile, and share it anywhere on the web.

The latest version of this software 2020.2 is available for Microsoft Windows and macOS only. The Tableau public edition is free but it is commercial for using desktop edition, server edition, web-based edition, and even mobile application.


# Google Data Studio

It is a free easy to use interactive dashboard that lets you create the line chart, bar chart, area chart, and pie chart. You can also generate reports as many as you can. 

In this visualization tool, one report can use multiple sources of data and on the other hand, the same data source can be connected to many reports.

You can use it online using this link. You do not need to install any software. In my earlier blog post, I discussed and demonstrated Google Data Studio elaborately (step-by-step guide).


# SandDance

SandDance is an open-source easy to use data visualization tool developed by Visualization and Interactive Data Analysis (VIDA), Microsoft.

This software has been rewritten from scratch to be modular and embeddable into any custom application. Using this tool, you can explore, and communicate insights about your datasets.

Many users can work with the same dataset. You can use it online using this link. You may visit this post for more details.


# Infogram

This software is easy to handle, flexible, and lets you communicate with the technical members online to make their work easier and faster.

Besides, this tool also caters to real-time data processing and supports multi-terminal display.

It is worth mentioning that the uploaded data in this tool’s online database is public unless the user upgrades to a paid member to make sure its privacy protection. You can use it through this link.


# Google Charts

The Google Charts is a  free tool, that lets you create and manage data presentations in a new way. If you have any queries about this tool you can get support from Google’s Forums and GitHub.

Google Charts does some great things with pie charts and pictographs, as well as animation. For more information- Click Here


Literature Review, Mapping and Discovery Tools for Academic Researchers :

#1 Citation Gecko

Citation Gecko allows you to find papers to and from seed papers, but you can’t export the papers to your reference managers.

The Citation Gecko plays a vital role in the literature discovery process. This web app is developed by Barney Walker, Imperial College London to help relevant literature discovery to the researchers.

This state-of-the-art tool has been released as open-source on Github.   The web app allows you to build upon each other’s scholarly work. The Citation Gecko open citation data to suggest relevant scholarly articles based on seed papers.

To fetch and visualize the relevant recommended research papers, you just upload “seed papers” in this tool. Once you enter the seed papers, it will take a few seconds to visualize the relevant scholarly papers.

As soon as you add the seed papers then this online tool automatically imports all of their references in the citation graph from OpenCitations.

The web app visualizes the relevant academic research articles in the following modes:

  • Papers Cited by Seed Papers
  • Papers Citing Seed Papers

It would be better if you extract RIS/BibTeX from the uploaded PDF file that can be imported into a reference manager.

In my previous post, I already discussed and demonstrated how to identify relevant academic research papers using Literature Discovery Tool (Citation Gecko). 


#2 Open Knowledge Maps

The Open Knowledge Maps is a free and easy-to-understand web application. The state-of-the-art software is developed as open-source and released under an MIT license.

Open Knowledge Maps is a charitable non-profit organization that was founded by Peter Kraker.

It is one of the world’s largest visual search engines for scientific computing. Knowledge maps provide an instant overview of a topic by showing the main areas at a glance, and papers related to each area.

The web app allows you to find and explore the most relevant scholarly literature through the trusted data providers BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search), Pubmed and OpenAIRE

You do not need to install any software for searching the most relevant scholarly resources. You can use this online web application through your desktop web browser.

If you are looking for a state-of-the-art robust visualization tool to find the most relevant papers smartly and efficiently, this tool is better for you.

The Open Knowledge Maps interface searches more than 7,000 content sources in all disciplines, providing access to over 140 million scholarly materials.

For details, you may visit this blog post on how to find the most relevant research papers using a visual interface.

#3 Local Citation Network

The Local Citation Network allows you to identify the seminal papers by building and visualizing citation networks. Using citation network analysis, this tool does this work.

This web app was developed by Tim Wölfle, physician-scientist, Imperial College London.

Local Citation Network is an online free, open-source, and easy-to-use citation network graph visualizer and is available on Github.

This visualizer tool lets you identify the connectivity between all of the literature.

 I discussed elaborately Local Citation Network in my article a free visualization tool to support the Literature survey.

#4 Connected Papers

The Connected Papers tool is a free and easy-to-understand smart tool. This citations mapping tool lets you search the relevant and credible resources.

After a long beta version, the founders have released the Connected Papers software to the public.

It has a user-friendly graphical user interface. You do not need to install any software. You can use it through your desktop web browser. But,  mobile browsers are not supported yet.

Like Cocites and Local Citation Network, this literature mapping tool accepts one paper for generating the graph. Local Citation Network uses references against your feeding paper rather than the citations.

But, Cocites looks at the citation to do the same work. The Connected Papers app uses both of these two concepts to do the same job.

In my earlier post, I demonstrated how to find and explore academic research papers using a visual tool.

#5 CoCites

CoCites is developed by Dr. A. Cecile J.W. Janssens, a research professor at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, USA.

Finding relevant papers on a specific topic is not an easy task from a plethora of papers. CoCites tool lets you search the scientific article on a specific topic quickly.

The tool allows you to find similar academic research papers during systematic reviews or meta-analyses. It discovers scientific research papers on the same particular topic based on input papers rather than keywords.

The data source of this software is the NIH Open Citation Collection (NIH-OCC), public access, broad coverage resources.

Cocites is now available for the Safari web browser. In order to download the browser extension visit this site. You can also go to the app store for the same purpose.

I recommend you to read the in-depth guide on how to find relevant academic papers with cocitations.

#6 Inciteful

The Inciteful is an easy-to-use literature finding tool. The web app was officially launched in beta version on 19th December 2020. The Inciteful allows you to find relevant academic research papers fast.

It can assist in discovering research articles related to the particular topics you have. It is developed using open metadata and citations.

Below are the data sources of the Inciteful:

  • Crossref
  • Microsoft Academic
  • Semantic Scholar
  • Open Citations

Inciteful creates a network of scholarly literature based on a topic and then analyzes the network to help you search for the most relevant articles.

You can export a Bibtex file of relevant papers from Zotero or Mendeley and then upload the file using the “ Import Bibtex file” link below the search bar on the home page.

Just make sure that the file has DOIs, URLs, etc matched.

If you want to know more details about the Inciteful then Click Here.


#7 Litmaps

Litmaps-Visualize your key Literature.  The project was designed and developed by the Litmaps team.

In order to visualize and explore the academic literature, this robust tool is very useful for researchers.

The literature mapping allows you to create an interactive academic literature map of keywords, authors, or bibliographies.

In addition to that, it also permits you to navigate the scholarly papers with interactive visualizations of citation graphs.

The use of this network analysis software helps you to locate academic papers that are closely connected to your current project.

The online interactive visualization tool saved me a lot of time and expedites the research work.

Using Litmaps, you can create an academic literature map and export your discoveries to expedite your research.

In order to know more details visit the post on Discovering Scientific Literature with Interactive Visualization Tool. 

These are the best digital tools for managing scientific articles for academic research.


#8 ResearchRabbit

ResearchRabbit is a free new literature mapping web app. It is free forever for academic researchers.

This discovery app unlocks a completely novel way to search for academic papers and authors.

Besides, the online tool monitors new scholarly literature, visualizes research landscapes.

The citation-based literature mapping application lets you keep up with the latest research papers related to your collections!

Now, ResearchRabbit is out of beta version. You can use the tool to discover and visualize academic literature and its authors in new ways.

In general, the discovery tool takes one or more relevant seed papers.

 After using various methods, ResearchRabbit recommends new ones that are similar to be added.

Updated on 26th February 2022 

Recently, I wrote a blog 9 innovative literature mapping tools every researcher needs to know wherein I have compiled a list of  9 powerful and innovative literature mapping tools for academic researchers.

Academic Search Engines (Multidisciplinary):


#1: Google Scholar 

Google Scholar lets you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research. It has the biggest index of scholarly materials in the world.

Google Scholar is one of the largest and most advanced academic search engines. It was launched in 2004. It is a free multidisciplinary, easy-to-use, robust search engine. The search engine lets you find relevant work across the world of scholarly literature.

You can search across various disciplines and sources like abstracts, articles, theses, books, patents, conference proceedings, online repositories, and other web materials.

It indexes 390 million scholarly literature across a range of disciplines. You can access both open and closed source scholarly materials using this discovery tool.

You can search across various disciplines and sources like abstracts, articles, theses, books, and online repositories, universities, and other web resources using a single window.


#2: Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE)

The Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) is a free open-source multidisciplinary academic search engine. The BASE allows you to search scholarly resources on the web.

In order to find journal abstracts, articles, preprints, images, and videos, the BASE search engine plays a pivotal role. 

The BASE search engine was designed and developed by Bielefeld University, Germany. At the time of this writing, this tool provides more than 241,960,866 documents from more than 8,348 sources. 

The academic search engine indexes the metadata of various types of academically relevant materials such as journals, institutional repositories, digital collections, etc.


#3: COnnecting REpositories (CORE) Academic Search Engine

The COnnecting REpositories (CORE) is one of the largest aggregators of open access research papers. The CORE is a multidisciplinary not-for-profit service delivered by The Open University and JISC.

CORE is designed and developed with more filters and facets. It provides open-accessed scholarly literature. Besides, this aggregator harvests and caches full-text scholarly articles from various registries.

From various registries, such as OpenDOAR and DOAJ, it uses the information to include new repositories and journals into CORE.

The search engine supports all kinds of modern browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and operating systems.


#4: Semantic Scholar Academic Search Engine

The Semantic Scholar is a free, multidisciplinary Artificial Intelligence-based academic search engine that permits you to explore and discover relevant scholarly materials on the web.

The discovery tool was launched in 2015 at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

In order to search the high quality, peer-reviewed academic research papers, you navigate to Semantic Scholar. The state-of-the-art AI-backed tool supports modern web browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge

Using the Artificial Intelligence baked engine, this robust tool extracts the meaning from the scientific literature. This multidisciplinary tool indexes high-quality research articles from all fields of science.

It supports BibTeX, MLA, APA, and Chicago format and the latest versions of the most popular operating systems.

Updated on 05/11/2021

Recently, Semantic Scholar has updated their research dashboard. Now, you can turn on recommendations for any folder in your Semantic Scholar Library.

And it helps you find the right research articles faster.

Try it out- Click Here


#5: Microsoft Academic Search Engine

The Microsoft Academic Search Engine lets you search journal titles, conference names, and many research topics from various sources on the web. You can search for any topic, journal, conference using the search engine.

This web search engine has been designed and developed over the open dataset provider Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG). You can process the dataset of scholarly metadata offline through the MAG subscriptions.

In a previous post, I already discussed and demonstrated elaborately the above academic search engines.

Update 07/05/2021 

Microsoft Academic Website: No longer accessible after Dec. 31, 2021


#6 Scinapse

Scinapse is a free, nonprofit, powerful, emerging academic search engine for discovering research papers.

Pluto Network team, Seoul, South Korea provides the services.

As per their FAQ section, the academic search engine indexes over 200 million articles from over 40,000 journals as of April 2019.

If you want to know more visit my post on a Useful Academic Search Engine for Finding Research Paper.


Research Datasets Search Tools for Academic Research:

# Google Dataset Search Engine

This search engine provides the search results based on their license whether it is free or paid, formats like CSV, pdf, txt, JSON, images, and their provenance. This engine does not curate or cater to direct access to the datasets directly.

A lot of the data in the index comes from the Government and Research Institutions, almost 2 million datasets from the US government alone but that still leaves 23 million other datasets on a huge variety of various subjects.


# Dimensions

The Dimensions provides datasets from more than 800 repositories such as Figshare, Dryad, Zenodo, Pangaea, and many more.

In order to search across various content types, such as publications, grants, patents, datasets, and policy documents you can use this web app.

Besides, it also caters to an array of search and discovery, research management apps, entire things in a single framework.

You can add your ORCiD account with Dimensions to submit publications from Dimensions to your ORCiD record.


# DataCite

DataCite is a non-profit organization that provides persistent identifiers (DOIs) for research data and other research outputs.

Datacite Citation Display: Unlocking Data Citations – Click Here


Academic Writing Tools for Academic Research :

#1 LaTex

LaTeX is a high-quality typesetting document preparation system that includes features designed for the preparation of technical and scientific documentation.

LaTeX is the de facto standard for the communication and publication of scientific documents. You can download this tool through this link.

#2 LibreOffice

This suite is free and open-source robust software. It is one of the fastest-growing projects in the free and open-source software world. You can download this tool through this link.

#3 MiKTex

MiKTeX is a free distribution of the TeX/LaTeX typesetting system for Microsoft Windows. You can download this tool through this link

#4 Google Docs

It is a free online document for personal use. You can create, edit and collaborate your document using your Gmail account.

Online Survey Tools for Academic Research :

Google Form

You can create your own form of any type (Feedback, Survey, etc,) using your Gmail account. Google form supports unlimited surveys and respondents.

Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey is easy to use a flexible and powerful tool. It is one of the most popular tools for creating interactive and dynamic forms. You can sign up using the free version of this tool.


You can sign up using the free version of this tool. It is easy to use and flexible.

Lime Survey ( Erstwhile PHP Surveyor)

Lime Survey is a free and open-source online statistical survey web application. It is written in PHP, and available on Github.


Data Cleaning Tools for Academic Research:

# OpenRefine (Erstwhile Google Refine)

We know that Python, R, and Julia are the most important languages for data cleaning. But, you have to have some programming knowledge for the data cleaning job.

It is a difficult job for non-technical users. OpenRefine is the best choice to alleviate the same. No programming skills are required.

It is the most well-known open-source powerful data cleaning tool used by researchers, librarians, etc.

On one hand, OpenRefine is good at clustering values to clean up dirty free text fields. On the other hand, it caters to reconciliation services that let you clean up data by matching against various sources.

In addition to that, you can also transform from one format into another. OpenRefine allows you to explore large data sets with ease.

It works on Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, and is available in more than 15 languages. OpenRefine keeps your own dataset private on your machine until you would like to share or collaborate.


# Trifacta Wrangler

This is a data wrangling tool that aids you in cleaning and preparing messy data more quickly and accurately. You can use freeware versions of this commercial data cleaning tool.

It accelerates data cleaning and preparing with a state-of-the-art platform for cloud data lakes.


Statistical Software:


JASP is free, flexible, robust, and open-source software supported by the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. The state-of-the-art tool generates statistics easily and swiftly for you in APA-formatted tables that are embeddable into a document.

The interface of this package is intuitive and similar to SPSS. The software works on Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux. You can download the software (All Releases) from their site.

#2 Jamovi

The Jamovi is free, easy to use third-generation, open statistical software. The tool is an alternative to commercial software such as SPSS and SAS.

The software is made by the scientific community and for the scientific fraternity. This software works equally on  Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS. You can download the software (All releases) from their website.


Academic Discovery Services for  Researchers:


# Fatcat

Internet Archive’s Fatcat is a publicly-editable catalog of research publications such as journal articles, conference proceedings, preprints, and so forth.

The goal is to improve the state of preservation and access to these works by providing a manifest of full-text content versions and locations.

They use full-text URL lists from the following sources :

At present, this search engine is available in beta version.

For details please visit the site.


Backup and Recovery Tool :

Bacula is an open-source network backup software. Using this software, you can manage backup, recovery, and verification of computer data across a network of computers of different kinds.


Social Media for Academia Researchers :


We use ORCID to get a persistent digital identifier(ORCID ID).

ORCID connects their ID with professional information like affiliations, grants, publications, peer review etc.

For details visit this site.

# Academia

The Academia is the easiest way to share papers with millions of people across the world for free. As of writing this article more than 147,328,911 academics and researchers join in this community.

In order to sign up on this social media, you can use your Google or Facebook credentials.

# Figshare

The Figshare is an online open access repository where researchers can preserve and share their research outputs, including figures, datasets, images, and videos. It is free to upload content and free to access, in adherence to the principle of open data.

You can upload, manage share files of any format upto 5GB in Figshare.


Plagiarism Prevention/Checker/Detection Software :

# Urkund Plagiarism Checker- Ouriginal

Urkund is a flexible, robust, and reliable plagiarism checker software for academic research.

It allows you to check uploaded scholarly works for text similarities against their millions of sources. 

In addition, you can integrate this checker into your Learning Management System (LMS).


# iThenticate

iThenticate is one of the most trusted plagiarism checker software for checking the plagiarism of your research paper.

It is an easy-to-use software, it protects your reputation.


Open Index of Scholarly Papers:


It is an index of hundreds of millions of interconnected entities across the global research system.

It’s named after the ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt.

OpenAlex was launched on 3rd January 2022. This open-access database is a replacement for Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG), a free alternative to subscription-based platforms such as Scopus, Dimensions, and Web of Science that was discontinued at the end of 2021. 

It is an open and comprehensive catalog of scholarly papers, authors, and institutions.

There are three ways to access the OpenAlex dataset:
1. the API
2. the website (launching February 2022)


Text Analysis Tools


Voyant is a web-based text analysis tool that allows users to explore and analyze a text corpus in various ways.

To analyze text using Voyant, you can simply copy and paste the text into the tool or upload a file.

Once the text is uploaded, you can use the various analytical tools available on Voyant to gain insights into the text, such as word frequency, word clouds, and co-occurrence graphs.

Voyant also provides a range of visualizations that can help you better understand the patterns and relationships in your text data.


I think the above-mentioned most powerful e-research tools help academic researchers to make their research more effective and organized.

In this blog post, I discussed the best digital tools for academic research you need to know when starting your research.

Hopefully, this post was useful to you! What other digital tools have you used for academic research?

We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below.


  1. Very helpful article thank you Dr Ujjal Marjit sir.
    Sir I am doing research at NIT Allahabad and I have seen many students facing lots of problems regarding research tools. Sir one request if you allow me I would like to make a short vedio for YouTube on this article?


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