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Free Digital Research Tools

This guide provides a list with descriptions of different research tools to facilitate research. Tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) are noted.

Tools That Connect Research

These tools use machine-learning (ML) or generally advanced computing to find connections between papers, even if those papers do not directly cite each other.

Semantic Scholar


Semantic Scholar uses AI to search over 200 million papers without relying solely on keyword matching. It also provides AI-generated summaries (in addition to abstracts), notes highly influential papers, and provides references and citing articles directly in the search interface.

Many of the other tools in this guide draw their sources from Semantic Scholar's database.

What's it useful for?

  • Finding papers relevant to your search
  • Finding papers related to a given paper
    • Citations to and from a paper
    • Algorithmically determined related papers
    • Highly influential citations
  • Filtering papers by field of study
  • Getting alerts about new papers based on author, citation, or topic

What's it cost?

Semantic Scholar is totally free to use.

Learn more about how Semantic Scholar works.

Semantic Scholar search bar



With Inciteful, you can search for a specific paper to begin creating a force-directed graph of papers (drawn from Semantic Scholar) that cite or have been cited by that paper. Inciteful uses algorithms to give greater weight to papers determined to be more influential or similar to your original paper.

What's it useful for?

  • Find related research
    • You can add more papers to refine the graph to find more relevant papers to your topic.
  • Find connections between any 2 papers, regardless of whether they're in the same field

What's it cost?

Inciteful is totally free to use.

Learn more about how Inciteful works.

Force-directed graph from Inciteful showing nodes representing academic papers connected by citations with darker color gradients indicating more recent papers



Sort of like Spotify for research. As you add papers to your collection, ResearchRabbit will try to provide you with more papers similar to what you've saved.

What's it useful for?

  • Finding and visualizing connections between related research
  • Visualizing the path you've taken to find more research so you can backtrack or branch out from different steps

What's it cost?

ResearchRabbit is totally free to use.

Learn more about how ResearchRabbit works.

ResearchRabbit's visualizer showing initial articles searched and a web of related articles based on the initial articles



Litmaps' most basic function is to use importance and similarity ranking algorithms to create a force-directed graph of the top 20 papers that cite or are cited by a paper you search for.

What's it useful for?

What's it cost?

Litmaps' basic features are free, but some features are only available with a paid premium account.

Learn more about how Litmaps works.

Litmaps' discover tool showing articles represented by dots in the inside of a circle with related articles displayed as dots on the edge of the circle. Lines connect the articles indicating citation relationships.

Connected Papers


Users can search keywords or for a specific paper, and Connected Papers creates a force-directed graph showing how that paper connects to other research (drawn from Semantic Scholar), even among papers that don't cite each other.

What's it useful for?

  • Discovering related research

What's it cost?

Free users are limited to 5 graphs per month (as of June 2023). Users can create a paid account for unlimited graphs.

Learn more about how Connected Papers works.

Example graph from Connected Papers showing different papers represented by dots with a web of connections between dots

Disclaimer for Students

Per Queens' Academic Affairs Department:

"The use of AI Tools is prohibited for coursework unless explicitly communicated by the course instructor. If the instructor has given explicit direction that AI Tools may be used (such as but not limited to ChatGPT, QuillBot, DALL-E, or Bard), you must acknowledge the material produced with a citation for any assignment for which it was used. Their use should be limited so that they do not interfere with the student learning objectives for the assignment and the course."

Check with your professor before using these or any other generative AI tools for your assignment.