In EndNote, I know there's an option to automatically download PDF files for the references you have in your library. Is there any way to do the same thing in some kind of non-commercial software, like for example Mendeley or BibDesk?

  • Sorry, this quite cannot be possible since many of them are non-free. Or do I miss something?
    – yo'
    Jan 12, 2014 at 20:59
  • @tohecz Well, I should mention that I do have access to pretty much all digital journals and databases through my institution. However, is it the case that EndNote only fetches PDF from open access journals?
    – Speldosa
    Jan 12, 2014 at 21:18
  • Do you have the DOIs? If so, then it should be possible with one wget in the shell...
    – yo'
    Jan 12, 2014 at 22:56
  • @tochecz In most cases "no". What I usually have is the title, the authors, and the publication year.
    – Speldosa
    Jan 13, 2014 at 9:15
  • Hasn't citavi a feature alike? (I didn't try myself, cause I'm fine with mendeley))
    – user10753
    Jan 14, 2014 at 8:19

2 Answers 2


The answer here uses proprietary/paid software. I propose a FOSS solution that works reliably for this task.

The cross-platform software JabRef has integrated fulltext fetchers to download the fulltext for any entry in the library. Import your bib file into Jabref and select a number of entries. Then, from the Quality pull-down menu, select Lookup Fulltext documents. However, you still have to manually confirm the download in a pop-up. But this is still just a bunch of clicking 'OK's at the same spatial location (for each pop-up that appears sequentially) with the mouse. Jabref does the heavy-lifting in the back to correctly download the PDF and link it appropriately by matching it to each relevant citation entry.

The latest master build of Jabref is recommended, since there were some recent fixes to the IEEE Fetcher. https://builds.jabref.org/master/ (if IEEE matters to the OP)


As suggested by @embert in the comments to my original question, this is possible with the help of Citavi. After you've imported your references, go to "References" -> "Check availability and find full text" (the process is explained here).

From initial testing, this feature only seems to work when you have the DOI number for the articles. However, when you do, Citavi finds and downloads the PDFs.

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