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The Article Galaxy Blog

12 Essential Elements of a Reference Management Platform

Karen Hittelman|Lead Copywriter
Karen Hittelman|Lead Copywriter
August 25, 2021
2 min read

For life sciences companies, being first to market with new drugs and therapies is critical to success. And the researchers at biotech and pharma companies work hard to find, collect, curate, and organize the scholarly article references they need to conduct their studies and make breakthrough discoveries.

But throughout the research lifecycle, each step can take significant time and effort. From ad-hoc article access to disorganized reference management and cumbersome collaboration, inefficiencies at any stage can significantly slow down workflows, increase costs, and negatively impact research outcomes.  

Advanced reference management tools

Over the past decade, a variety of advanced digital tools have emerged that can help life sciences companies and other research-driven organizations streamline and enhance their research workflows. Today's modern, cloud-based platforms improve research workflows by automating complex tasks—and eliminating the need to switch back and forth between a disjointed assortment of websites and software solutions.  

This checklist includes 12 essential elements of a modern reference management platform:

  • Integrated search: Enables comprehensive search coverage and seamless article access across scholarly publisher websites and literature databases (e.g. PubMed, Google Scholar).
  • Lowest-cost acquisition tools: Automatically checks for lowest-cost access, including open access, subscriptions, and previously acquired and sharable content.
  • Full-featured document delivery service: Enables on-demand ordering and retrieval of full-text articles; includes access to supplementary materials at no additional cost; purchase and rental options; volume discounts and bulk ordering; accepts credit cards and pre-paid publisher tokens.
  • Effortless copyright compliance: Automatically provides content licensing and usage rights based on stated intended use.
  • Deduplication tool: Automatically notifies user if an article they want has been previously acquired within the organization (with appropriate usage rights); eliminates unnecessary duplicate purchases.
  • Central content repository: Provides users with easy, cloud-based access to all of the organization's previously acquired and sharable content; saves time and prevents unnecessary purchases.
  • Remote collaboration tools: Enables teams to remotely access and share content and bibliographies, annotate PDFs, add tags, and more; improves efficiency and outcomes.
  • Advanced bibliographic management: Includes sophisticated tools for creating, organizing, and managing both individual and shared bibliographies; leverages smart technology to automatically add relevant citations to appropriate folders (based on custom settings) when new content is added to central repository.
  • Journal table-of-contents (TOC) and RSS feeds: Notifies users of newly published research in a particular field of study.
  • Cite and write capability: Automatically adds citations to documents when drafting a manuscript (e.g. in Microsoft Word or other word processing software); generates citations in a variety of styles based on user preference.
  • Usage analytics: Provides insight into what users across the organization are ordering and accessing; enables cost-effective content acquisition strategies (e.g. based on value of subscriptions vs. per-article purchases).
  • Administrative tools: Simplifies and automates administrative tasks (e.g. tracks orders by department and cost code; offers single monthly billing for all content purchases across the organization).

Are you considering upgrading to an end-to-end reference management solution? Use this checklist to make sure the solution you choose meets your organization's needs.

The Author

    Karen Hittelman|Lead Copywriter

Karen is a copywriter who specializes in business-to-business (B2B) technology marketing. With more than 14 years of writing experience, she has extensive background in SaaS and cloud-based solutions across a range of industries. Karen has been writing for Research Solutions since 2018, where she serves as an embedded member of the company’s marketing team. She holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of California, Berkeley.


literature management, life science, research, scholarly literature, research workflow, apps, research tools, biotech, pharma

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