EndNote alternative? ReadCube Grows Up!

ReadCube LogoReadCube arrived on the reference management scene in late 2011. I looked at it a year ago and found it lacking in comparison to the “big 5” — EndNote, Menedeley, Papers, RefWorks and Zotero (these are in alphabetical order, I am not playing favorites here!).

ReadCube released a mammoth upgrade about a month ago making it worthy of consideration as your primary reference manager. Read Cube works with any browser on both Mac and Windows machines, it also works on iOS devices; there is no Android version yet.



The basic version is free and now integrates with Microsoft Word, and provides simple altmetrics information. Altmetrics describes a way to measure the impact of the article you are reading. The PRO version costs $5/mo. or $45/yr. but you get several features for your money. It syncs across your iOS devices, adds unlimited cloud storage, advanced article metrics, and “watch folders”. What’s a watch folder? When new article PDFs are added to folders on your computer that you have told ReadCube to watch, they are automatically added to ReadCube. Note: I do not have a PRO account so the above is based on the ReadCube website.

Test Drive:
A search using the PubMed Special Queries (found near the bottom of the PubMed homepage) “Comparative Effectiveness Research” search tool to find information about cost-effective diagnosis of pulmonary embolism found 81 results. Several of these articles looked quite good and I wanted a way to move all of them into ReadCube in one step. It appears that you can only import one article at a time (!) from PubMed by using the by Add to Read Cube bookmarklet.


Comparative Effectiveness Search through PubMed

ReadCube encourages you to use their in-application search. It is convenient, but feels stripped down and is limited to GoogleScholar and PubMed. Sophisticated PubMed searchers will feel hamstrung by the simplified search. GoogleScholar results are shown by relevance, you cannot sort by year. I also searched in Scopus and Web of Science and was able to import one article at a time into ReadCube with the bookmarklet.

GoogleScholar and PubMed  search within ReadCube

GoogleScholar and PubMed search within ReadCube

UCSF full text is easily accessible by selecting “University of California, San Francisco” from the drop down menu in Institutional Affiliation found in Preferences.

Formatting in-text citations and references in Word works well. Like Papers, pressing Control twice will launch the citation tool.

All in all, ReadCube has improved rapidly. As you can see from the above there are some capabilities I would like to see added to ReadCube. With a devoted user group and the quick evolution to date I expect to see further evolution soon.

Please contact me if you have questions. Evans.Whitaker@UCSF.edu

About Whit

Whit is the Education and Information Consultant for Medicine at UCSF Library.
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