Mendeley or Papers 2

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by andy8, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. andy8 macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2009
    I am having a confusion in choosing either Mendeley's Free version or to go ahead and purchase a paid Papers 2 application.

    - Mendeley's free version is limited to 1Gb of storage space while Papers 2 have unlimited space.

    - I prefer Papers pdf display quality on screen compared to Mendeley or even (Sente).

    - The whole point of having a reference manager is to store all my research papers (organised and neat) on my Mac. I will also be using the application to write some papers in the near future.

    I don't know how the other users of Mendeley or Papers have made a decision to choose either one and it will be useful if you could share it with me. It would certainly help me in selecting one.

    Thanks for your attention and time.:)
  2. excalibur313 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2003
    Cambridge, MA
    I have papers and I am totally in love with it. My favorite feature of the program is the ability to add references to a document. You just press the control button twice and then you can dynamically search through your library, find the citations you need, and then insert the citation. They have different styles so you can just match it to the journal that you need. I will admit that I haven't tried mendeley in about 3 years so I don't have a good idea of what they have improved on, but I am pretty happy with the setup that I have now. Either way, it is leagues above the pain that is endnote.
  3. rvidal macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2009
    Hi guys,
    Quick disclaimer: I'm a Community liaison with Mendeley.

    Both Mendeley and Papers2 are great options to have. It really depends on what your requirements are. When I started using Mendeley a few years ago it was all about having my library with me on all the computers I worked on. Mendeley has been cross-platform since day one and that has been an added feature for me. Also, the citation plugin also supports the main word processors on each operating system I work with.

    Here's a comparison table of some of the main reference management tools available:
  4. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    Thank you for the disclosure, it is appreciated. It is also appreciated that you're here at all, that is a great benefit to potential customers.
  5. andy8, Sep 20, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012

    andy8 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2009
    Thank you "rvidal" for your thoughts and everyone else keeping this thread alive.

    Cross platform compatibility is a great feature on Mendeley. Papers 2 on the other hand has a Windows and a Mac application. That means there is cross-compatibility with Papers 2 as well (It doesn't offer automatic document updates across all devices and platforms however; I suppose)

    Three issues I experience with Mendeley :

    1) Quality of PDF (resolution) while reading it on Mac is not good (if not better than Papers 2)

    2) Once documents are sorted according to specific criteria (author, date & etc); after closing and upon re-launching Mendeley Desktop, all documents appear in unsorted manner again. (This is very bad for a reference manager in my opinion.)

    3) Only 1GB space offered for the (Free usage) - (But this is acceptable for a free account.)

    An advantage I see with Mendeley however, is that it has a larger user base. This is useful if academicians require good academical network with many others. I havent used LIVFE on Papers 2 yet; but Mendeley seems to be better. (I may be wrong there).
  6. daerelas macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2012
    Interesting discussion, I'm at this same place right now (again). Here's my $.02. Mendeley (M) has a poor interface for reasons already raised, plus I'll add it has inflexible column choices. The interface overall feels to me like (1) it's a port from another OS as it has no Mac look and feel, and (2) it's specifically aimed at those who only need/want bare-bones features. For instance, M does not allow "smart" collections or collection nesting (parent folders contain all documents in their folder and all child confirmed to me this is by design). Their social elements, however, seem quite good to me. They're intuitive and work well, but the storage price seems excessive. However, they are a "free for all", meaning the devs do not assist of there are social group issues not based around functionality. In all, you get what you pay for (in terms of the software itself). It looks, feels, and works like free software. Yesterday I added a "watch" folder (a neat feature) and added and corrected 97 PDF entries to my database, but today they are all gone. Lastly, it has no OCR capability (again, you get what you pay for). I asked a question of support at one point, and it took >1 week to get a response. For all these reasons, I believe I'm done with Mendeley.

    I did the Papers2 trial recently and it seems to solve ALL these issues, but note my trial ran out before I tried Papers' social functionality. Of course, it's paid software so I'd expect it to be better. The interface is fantastic. Historically the dig on Papers was always that it was targeted completely at medicine and physical sciences...that is, social sciences (psychology, sociology, etc) were outside their target audience. I can say that in a Papers1 trial this was tangible, so I dropped it back then. In my recent Papers2 trial seemed not to be the case but again honestly I don't think I spent enough time with it to tell for sure. Perhaps excalibur313 can provide some updated feedback on Papers Livfe?
  7. cparnot macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2012
    reset trial

    Hey, hey, charles here, from Mekentosj HQ.

    > my trial ran out before I tried Papers' social functionality.

    You can reset it as follows (though it will start with an empty library again, so instead what you can do is temporarily rename those files and when ready to buy, put them back the way they were):

    - quit Papers2 if it's running (also make sure the Manuscripts icon is gone in the menu bar, which may require you turn Manuscripts off in the preferences)
    - throw away the file /Users/your_name/Library/Preferences/com.mekentosj.papers2.plist
    - throw away the folder /Users/your_name/Documents/Papers2 (or it might be next to your Papers1 library in another location)
    - throw away the folder /Users/your_name/Library/Application Support/Papers2
    - Start Paper2 again

    Starting with OS 10.7 Lion and later, to access your Library folder, you need to use the Go menu in the Finder and press the option key. This will add a 'Library' item to the list, and will give you access to the hidden folder.

    > Of course, it's paid software so I'd expect it to be better.

    Papers2 "social" features are not as developed as they could be, I have to admit. The recommendation engine for instance is limited. We have however a very simple way to share papers between users via Livfe collections.
  8. MathRulz macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    Although I use Sente for my primary reference manager, I like the crowd-sourcing approach of Mendeley in identifying articles I might not have noticed otherwise. I 'own' a group in Mendeley and follow others.
  9. daerelas macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2012
    I should have started with my current situation. I, too, and a licensed Sente user and have been for several years. Unfortunately I still bear the scars of developers who chose to focus on iPad app development rather than supporting APA6 functionality...for a whole year after APA6 release...and it's still not 100% fixed. /rant I'm done with Sente.

    Regarding Mendeley, I am also the owner of a group so I have some positive experience there, and I agree that's the experience to shoot for in terms of sharing research socially. If I could combine the Papers interface with the Mendeley social networking, I'd already own it.

    @Andy8: so back to the original point, having used both (as well as Sente), ask yourself which you value more, citation/PDF management or sharing research socially; IMHO it's Papers for the former and Mendeley for the latter (future upgrades and feature development notwithstanding).
  10. daerelas, Oct 8, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012

    daerelas macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2012
    I followed your instructions and it worked fine, thanks. However now that I've been able to focus a bit more in core (to me) functionality, some questions (trying to keep it relevant for this discussion).

    1a. The Papers site says it includes OCR, and reading the product forums I understand Papers OCRs material in the background and keeps the text for searching only (doesn't touch the actual PDF). I tested this by importing an image-only PDF and OCR never seemed to happen. Searching on a term in that PDF is not found. Is this a trial limitation?

    1b. Not a question, but an observation. The "copy as reference" function (which is critical for me) seems to get "stuck." I imported a PDF and the engine determined the journal name, but it entered it automatically in sentence case (incorrect for APA6). I used "copy as reference" and sure enough the paste carried the sentence case journal name. I corrected the name in the db entry, and tried again but the journal name will not change case. I restarted Papers and even rebooted and the case won't change...what I paste is what it started out as, despite what the db entry says. I finally erased the journal name entirely and re-entered, and that seemed to do it. However, this means I need to be careful as I enter PDFs to check this closely. Kind of a drag when trying to create a db with my 1300+ PDFs.

    2. After trying Livfe finally, I agree with your comment above. For the benefit of others, I'll summarize by saying it has groups that you can start, own, and join, similar to Mendeley. However, the only functionality is to share a paper and allow others to rate and review that paper. There are no ongoing conversations (you post, I reply, etc), and in fact no way to have a conversation at all. Mendeley has Facebook/BBS-type conversation among group members. After using this within Mendeley I now consider this a must. The current functionality of Livfe honestly seems to add no value currently. Livfe needs to evolve its functionality substantially. I may in fact buy Papers after more of a trial period (and some answers to the above questions) because citation/PDF management is way more important to me at the moment. However, I can foresee a time when social sharing of research may become more important in my work. Please work on Livfe. As-is it's not a reason to by Papers.
  11. fuzzychicken macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2010
    Probably, I am late here and you have already made a decision but here are my 2 cents as a Papers2 user.

    The program worked just as expected, BEFORE it was rewritten to Papers2. I was mac user of Papers 1 program. Now I moved to Windows and bought upgrade license for Papers2 and what a disappointment. Its super buggy (and they take pride in total rewriting of the program). The support is pathetic and almost all the question you ask them are made PRIVATE so that you have no clue what other users are asking or complaining. I have 4 questions open within last 2 months and no answers. I agree the questions are critical (i.e. not applauding their program but very civil).

    I use laptop with i3 processor with 4GB RAM on 64-bit Windows 7 and the program uses upto 1GB of RAM at a times. I can work with photoshop much faster than Papers2. Its very very slow. I have about 1000 articles in my library and its frustrating. I never had this problem with with Papers1 on Mac.

    Now that they are acquired by a big scientific articles publisher, I don’t think they give a hoot to your complaints. Keep an eye on open source program Qiqqa. Its not as polished but I hope they too get their act together and make it a pretty good program.

    I seriously loved Papers1 and encouraged everyone in the lab to purchase it. Out of 11 members 7 bought the license but now I doubt, I will recommend this program to anyone. If Qiqqa improves, I will abandon Papers2 for sure. I really wanted to love this program but at this moment, I am very disappointed.

    One of your requirement is citations. Qiqqa does not offer it. I am not too sure how well Papers2 will work on this criteria as I have not used that function yet (and I will not, I am happy with EndNote). And as this is a Mac forum, the question relates to mac version and not windows but being rewritten, I have reservations about mac version as well. I would try THOROUGHLY before deciding to open the wallet.

    I am just posting here, in case, anybody else comes across for the same question.
  12. T'hain Esh Kelch, Sep 21, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016

    T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Just a heads up - Papers2 no longer functions under macOS Sierra.

    Edit: I got an unofficial version 2.8.2 from their support. It now works, although text annotation is non-functional now (Only thing I've come across so far)

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11 September 20, 2012