Papers (bibliography software)

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biosoftware mac

Papers is a Mac OS X bibliography software with focus on life science. It features fast reference import from PubMed, download of PDFs via integrated browser, and paper organisation by author, journal, (smart) groups, and keywords. Version 1.0 appeared in March 2007; the current version is v1.5.1. The programme is shareware and costs 29€/$40 with student discount of 40% possible.


  • imports from BibTeX, Connotea, Endnote (XML and ENW), and RefMan
  • based on my personal experience BibDesk import currently does not import rating, read status, and there are some problems with the MeSH keywords (check forum)
  • exports to BibTeX, Bookends, Endnote XML, and as a RIS file
  • automated PDF import using integrated browser into customisable file hierarchy
  • browsing PDF in panel or full screen with note taking possibility
  • organising references in groups (including smart groups like in iTunes)
  • various search functions including overall, title, author,..
  • browsing papers by authors and journal
  • interfaced with OS X (Spotlight search, context menu, import of reference from browsers)


Pre-made features of the Apple OS X has recently spurred some great pieces of software including similar programmes like BibDesk and Skim. Alexander Griekspoor (Mek) and Tom Groothuis (Tosj) have already impressed with previous free utilities like EnzymeX (restriction endonuclease planning), 4Peaks (DNA sequencing), and others. This is their latest creation. Since the programme is much bigger than previous projects, they have opted for a shareware model to recover costs. As is to be expected with all pieces of software, the 1st version was still a bit buggy. In my opinion, v1.1 (the current version as of 10/07) is very usable - I haven't spotted a bug yet, just some missing features (Alex tells me that I overlooked some bugs). Especially the automated PDF import will be a great time saver. I'm still hesitating since the import from BibDesk does not work well yet (rating and read status lost) and MeSH keywords below the top level are not imported. I'm sure that there will be huge improvements in the upcoming v1.5, which according to personal communication is supposed to happen this year. Well done Mek & Tosj. Looking forward to the improved Papers. -- Jakob Suckale 05:18, 24 October 2007 (CDT)


  • 29€ (about $40 as of 10/07)
  • 40% reduction for students


Papers homepage

Wikipedia related topics

External software comparison pages

See also