10+ Best AI Tools for Research

Buckle up, folks. Because today, we’re embarking on a journey through the land of AI research tools.

These are the tools that can take a task that would ordinarily be as fun as watching paint dry – researching, analyzing, finding patterns – and make it more engaging than a game of Dungeons and Dragons.

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1. Google Scholar

If research is your game, then Google Scholar is a must-have player on your team. Think of it as a search engine specifically designed for scholarly literature. From theses and books to conference papers and patents, Google Scholar can search it all.

Easy to useSome non-scholarly sources might sneak in
Free of costNot all articles are accessible for free
Broad coverage of scholarly literatureAdvanced searching can be complex

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2. Semantic Scholar

Semantic Scholar is an AI-powered research tool that helps you find relevant academic papers faster.

With a vast array of filters and advanced search options, it’s like a librarian who doesn’t mind being asked millions of questions.

AI-powered search engine for better resultsFocused mainly on computer science and biomedical literature
Free to useUI could be a bit complex for beginners
Advanced filters for specific resultsDoesn’t have as broad a coverage as Google Scholar

3. Iris.ai

Iris.ai is your personal AI science assistant. This tool can read, digest, and understand scientific knowledge, helping you navigate the world of academic research.

With Iris, you’ll spend less time searching for relevant papers and more time enjoying the fruits of your findings.

Efficient paper discoveryFree version is quite limited
AI-powered mind maps for researchRequires subscription for full features
Easy to use interfaceMight not have all the papers you’re looking for

Our Take

Alright, so that was a quick tour of the first three research tools. Google Scholar is like the Swiss army knife of research – basic, but you can’t go wrong with it. Semantic Scholar, on the other hand, is like a specialty scalpel.

It’s designed for a specific purpose (computer science and biomedical research) and it’s damn good at what it does. Iris.ai is the more advanced, “personal assistant” version of a research tool.

It might require some time (and money) to get used to, but once you do, it’s quite handy.

Now, let’s get back to our tour. We still have plenty more tools to uncover!

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4. Connected Papers

Connected Papers is a visual tool to help researchers and applied scientists find and understand relevant scientific papers.

It generates a graph of papers ranked by how similar they are, making the process of finding relevant papers less cumbersome.

Visual map of related papersLimited to certain databases
Makes connections you may not see on your ownInterface may be confusing at first
Free to useCannot access full text papers

5. Endnote

EndNote is a powerful reference management tool that not only helps you manage all your references, but also reformats them for you when you’re writing your paper or thesis.

It’s a research tool that says, “leave the boring stuff to me.”

Powerful reference managementLearning curve can be steep
Formatting of referencesCan be expensive for individual use
Integration with word processorsCan be slow with large libraries

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6. ArXiv

ArXiv is a free distribution service and an open-access archive for scholarly articles.

It’s the academic version of a treasure trove where you can find everything from physics and mathematics to computer science and economics.

Free access to research papersNot all papers are peer-reviewed
Covers a wide range of disciplinesInterface is outdated
Preprints available before formal publicationSearching can be complex for beginners

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7. Mendeley

Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research.

It’s like Facebook, but for people who love academic papers.

Reference management and academic social networkLimited cloud storage in the free version
Good integration with word processorsNot as intuitive as other reference managers
Free to useMay not be ideal for managing very large libraries

8. Rayyan

Rayyan is an AI-powered tool designed to expedite the initial stages of a systematic review. It helps researchers conduct faster, more accurate literature screening.

Speeds up systematic review processLimited to systematic reviews
AI-poweredInterface may be confusing for beginners
Free to useLimited customization options

9. Sparrho

Sparrho is an AI tool that combines human and artificial intelligence to help you stay on top of the research that matters to you.

It curates and recommends research papers, regardless of the field of study.

Combines AI with expert curationMight not be comprehensive
Personalized research recommendationsNot all papers might be accessible for free
Free to useUser interface can be improved

10. Zotero

Zotero is your personal research assistant, helping you collect, organize, cite, and share research.

It’s a free and easy-to-use tool that lives where you do your work – in the web browser itself.

Excellent reference management capabilitiesRequires a plugin for browser integration
Free and open-sourceStorage space is limited in the free version
Integration with word processorsSome features may need advanced tech skills

Our Take

Well, we’ve covered quite a bit of ground with our research tools tour.

We found tools that help with everything from discovering relevant papers (like Connected Papers and Iris.ai), to managing and citing those papers (EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero), and even specialized tools for systematic reviews (Rayyan).

It’s clear that whatever your research needs are, there’s likely an AI tool out there to help you.


Navigating the world of research can be akin to traversing a maze. But with the right tools, you can turn that maze into a straight line.

From our exploration, the best free tool is probably Google Scholar due to its wide-ranging access to scholarly literature.

For those willing to make an investment, EndNote offers powerful reference management capabilities that can save researchers hours of time.

For students and early researchers, Zotero and Mendeley are great options due to their reference management capabilities and integration with word processors.

Large organizations and institutions might find Semantic Scholar and ArXiv’s wide database more useful. For those conducting systematic reviews, Rayyan could be a game-changer.

However, the most expensive tool on our list would be EndNote, but its features justify the price, especially for serious researchers.

The cheapest?

There are many free tools on the list, but if we had to pick one, we’d recommend Zotero for its impressive features at no cost.

But before buying or subscribing, make sure to take the tools for a spin, get a feel of their functionalities, and see if they fit your work style and requirements.

And remember, the goal is not to have the most tools, but to use the right tools that make your research process more efficient and enjoyable.

After all, researching is like going on an adventure – and who doesn’t want the best gear for their adventures?

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Startup Mentor, Tech Blogger & Entrepreneur.

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