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Mendeley is (mainly) a proprietary social network to share basic citation data and research papers. see also

Are there any free and open source substitutes for this service?

A technical possibility: users could collect BibTeX data and a hash and share this information. It would be very useful to have such a free service because every journal provides the citation data in a different format. That includes false field entries, broken files and hidden download buttons on the website.

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migrated from tex.stackexchange.com Nov 20 '12 at 15:13

This question came from our site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems.

You might find some options here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… –  Scott H. Nov 12 '12 at 19:44
Nice link. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connotea could be a solution. –  Jonas Stein Nov 13 '12 at 1:36
Related (but not a duplicate): academia.stackexchange.com/q/854/1033 –  gerrit Nov 20 '12 at 15:41
related: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/36/… –  matth Nov 27 '12 at 12:23
The opening sentence could be controversial, as much as it is secondary to the context. Maybe you could rephrase it. –  Kris Nov 28 '12 at 6:18

4 Answers 4

The only alternative that comes to my mind is Zotero:

  • It is open-source,
  • it comes as a standalone application or as a Firefox add-on,
  • it integrates with Word or OpenOffice,
  • it syncs with the Zotero server,
  • it has BibTeX export,
  • ...
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Is it truly free? I think that the client only is; the server is proprietary. –  Federico Poloni Nov 27 '12 at 12:27
What functions don't work without the server? Except syncing to the server, of course? –  matth Nov 27 '12 at 12:34
Well, syncing data among different clients. :) There is really no technical reason why this couldn't be done on a completely FOSS stack. It is only a commercial choice. I don't blame them, that is their business, but it is a fact that Zotero is not 100% open, despite their claims. –  Federico Poloni Nov 27 '12 at 18:03
@FedericoPoloni I think you are misinterpreting the "free" in free software: Zotero is still developed and distributed under AGPL. That does not mean that the developers may not charge for their server services. Furthermore, there is the possibility to run your own WebDAV server as Tony pointed out. –  non-numeric_argument Nov 20 '13 at 10:03
@FedericoPoloni First, Zotero itself provides some sourcecode for running a dataserver. Second, the Freemium storage and syncing service by Zotero Server resembles Mendeley very much. The other reommended open source software BibDesk has no server or sync functionality whatsoever and I do not know of any open source software which is an original desktop reference manager which comes with that funtionality (of course, there are open source web-based reference manager). –  non-numeric_argument Nov 22 '13 at 14:01

I really liked Mendeley's potential but got frustrated with both their pricing model (maybe I just never learned how to use the software correctly) and it consistently butchering imported BibTeX entries.

I've been a pretty happy BibDesk user for a long time, it is true open source software, but unfortunately it has not been ported outside of the OS X environment, so this is only a qualified answer.

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BibDesk, indeed, is an excellent tool. It doesn't offer a built in syncing feature across computers, but this can be achieved in other ways such as Dropbox or git. I highly recommend BibDesk! –  crash Nov 30 '12 at 12:41

Haven't tried it yet but https://www.docear.org/ seems to stand out as the leading open-source alternative to mendeley.

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Finally I found I, librarian on http://www.bioinformatics.org/librarian/ which is a kind of mixture between Filestorage-Server, JabRef and a personal open source Mendeley server.

Interested users may try the demo account on the website.

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