I am using Mendeley to keep track of my papers. It allows me to group the papers in folders, and I can easily export BiBTeX for a folder which I can include in a paper I am writing.

However, almost always I need to fill in all the details when I add a new paper to my library. "Search by Title" feature does not do a great job.

I think everyone around the world is creating their BiBTeX (or any other format) entries by hand. Is there a community driven (wikipedia like) website/service that unifies this process?

What I have in my mind is something like this: People add article meta information (title, authors, year etc.) to this public DB, if they see a mistake they correct it, if they see duplicates they prevent it by deleting one. And one can export entries as BiBTeX, etc.

The closest thing I saw is Google Scholar. But because it tries to automate nearly the whole process there are still lots of mistakes.

  • 4
    I don't create my bibtex by hand, I get them from online sources, e.g. DBLP or ACM DL, which index papers in Computer Science. Perhaps there are equivalent sources for your field?
    – user102
    Jun 7, 2013 at 9:59
  • 1
    +1 to @CharlesMorisset I also download all my papers either from ACM DL or IEEE Xplore and the metadata imports perfectly in Mendeley. Its only when downloading papers off Google Scholar that the problem seems to manifest itself.
    – Shion
    Jun 7, 2013 at 17:00
  • My papers doesn't appear from one source, I need to chase them from various sites. Besides, this approach is not unified. And often I see errors in BiBTeX on publishers like Springer.
    – nimcap
    Jun 7, 2013 at 18:49
  • 3
    I don't create my bibtex by hand, I get them from online sources — Really? DBLP and ACM DL (like Springer BibTeX) is horrible — misspelled author names, incorrect proceedings titles, missing page numbers, using - instead of -- to separate page numbers, .... I enter my BibTeX data by hand.
    – JeffE
    Jun 8, 2013 at 0:12
  • @JeffE: I never encountered any problem with a bibtex coming from DBLP of ACM DL.
    – user102
    Jun 8, 2013 at 7:04

6 Answers 6


Sadly, not yet...

Many publishers view their bibliographic metadata as commercial property and hold-on to it fairly tightly.

Mendeley will release little bits of the article data they have accumulated from all their users, but they will not let anyone download all of it - it's valuable property that they want to keep 'in-house'.

There are a few truly community-driven projects trying to change this e.g. Open Citations & Open Citagora.

These projects aim to build truly public & open databases for anyone to build upon & annotate. The other tools mentioned in the question aren't really public or fully open.


You might want to check out the "Initiative for Open Citations"


The Initiative for Open Citations I4OC is a collaboration between scholarly publishers, researchers, and other interested parties to promote the unrestricted availability of scholarly citation data.

It seems to be growing in coverage. It could form the basis for more open search tools.


This applies only to mathematics.

Personally I get most of my bibtex entries from Mathscinet where one can search for a particular article and then ask for bibtex. Here is a related question on MathOverflow; some of the answers there seem transferable to other fields.

[I agree that these are not community-driven resources, but address the related question of where to obtain bibtex entries.]


JSTOR and many publishers include BiBTeX format for articles on their webpages:

Example from Cambridge University Press (click "How to Cite This Article"): http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=92189

Example from JSTOR (click "Export Citation"): http://www.jstor.org/stable/2585925


I use citeulike. Their smart bookmark lets me create an entry automatically from most articles on the web. Once it is in your library, you can easily export it as BibTex (1 click). I almost never have to type in BibTeX entries anymore.

Although, a number of journals which do not have DOI support, and conference proceedings, unfortunately it comes down to editing the BibTeX entry myself. (Sometimes someone else who uses citeulike would have already done that and you can search for the entry and copy it to your library.)


I find that Jabref's import from pubmed (pubmed search -> display list of pubmed ids -> copy to Jabref) does a very good job for the bio/medical fields.

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