What are good ways to explore/discover literature visually, e.g. a visual interface for Google Scholar? There are a few tools to explore the citation graph ("which papers cite which papers"). Some are described here:

There are a few more with a different focus:

  • Graph of patents (but not papers) - "PatGraph"
  • Only for own local library (not for discovery of new papers) - "Action Science Explorer"
  • Old limited version from 2004 (no way to go backwards through citations) - "TouchGraph browser for Google Scholar"
  • Limited database size - https://nlp.fi.muni.cz/projekty/visualbrowser/#sec0403

Do you know others? Which ones do you recommend?

  • 2
    This should probably be community wiki. Jan 4, 2017 at 10:00

5 Answers 5


Newest and possibly best, with a similarity metric based on shared citations and references: https://www.connectedpapers.com/


I recently found Citation Gecko which takes in articles as seeds and shows papers they are connected to by citations (past and future) in an interactive network with a very clean design. Can import seed papers from Medeley, Zotoro, etc. too!

It's open source, the code is available here: https://github.com/CitationGecko


I think it really depends on what you want to do.

Proto-Knowledge lists software developed by both Leydesdorff (several choices) and Börner (principally Sci2) that are probably good starting points.

Although not as visual, I've used several Elsevier Pure clients to identify experts for peer review panels - https://www.elsevier.com/solutions/pure/who-uses-pure/clients.


Research Rabbit. It not only shows citation graph but also recommends similar papers based on your research library.

  • I agree, it is free, very nice to use, and you can even import your Zotero library as "seed" papers for the search.
    – Raphaël
    Nov 13, 2021 at 16:28

scite Visualizations (explained in this short YouTube video) shows the citation graph.

The edges in the graph indicate whether the articles support or refute each other's claims.

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