Mendeley vs Readcube

🔥 published May 17, 2024 - updated May 17, 2024

Quick Overview

Mendeley and Readcube are robust tools developed to organize reference management and citing research papers. We decided to test these two reference apps and check whose ability to find quality and relevant sources for academic research purposes is better. They provide access to various sources such as journals, books, and conference materials but differ in terms of pricing and specific features. Mendeley stands out with its free access, while Readcube offers a subscription-based model with a 30-day trial period.

Liked about Mendeley
  • Free and powerful
  • Supports filtering through sources
  • Has its own reference manager
Liked about Readcube
  • Has a tool for downloading PDFs
  • Long 30-day trial period without requiring billing information
  • Excellent citation formatting options
TOP services Our verdict AHelp Score 🔥 Updated March 2024
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AHELP Reference Finder
Best reference finder 96/100 Get free access
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Best result relevance 95/100 Read review
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Semantic Scholar
Best free service 93/100 Read review
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Most convenient on mobile devices 90/100 Read review
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Best search filters 88/100 Read review
Best fit forStudents and researchers on a budgetStudents and professionals needing robust citation management
A*Help Score⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Search Quality⭐⭐⭐⭐
Comprehensive with good filtering options
High-quality search with detailed citation formatting
Overall Experience⭐⭐⭐⭐
User-friendly, simple interface
Clear, efficient, business-like interface
Value for Money⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Excellent, as it is free
Good, with affordable subscription plans

Searching Quality: Mendeley vs Readcube

Mendeley scores very high, 44/50 for search quality according to our testing criteria. It offers comprehensive filtering options and access to various sources. We found the ability to search publications by years, journal names, authors, and document types extremely convenient and helpful. What the tool lacks though, is discipline-specific searching. It may take some time for users to find the most suitable papers for their majors. Citation formatting is possible through a plugin, which is a limitation. Also, users can experience issues with accessing some PDF documents, which can be frustrating during research.

Screenshot of the main page at Mendeley (click to see a large image)
Search engine at Mendeley (click to see a large image)
A screenshot featuring search results at Readcube
Search results at Readcube (click to see a large image)

Readcube scores higher at 47/50, mainly due to its much more simplified citation formatting. This service also excels in search quality with filters for relevance, citation count, and publication year. It provides a wide range of citation styles directly on the platform, which is, in our opinion, Readcube’s main competitive advantage over Mendeley. Additionally, the browser extension for importing references and accessing full texts enhances its search capabilities, making it a little more convenient tool for academic research in terms of quality compared to Mendeley. 

Sources searched MENDELEY READCUBE
Climate change effects on Polar bears
– shows relevant results
– features highly-cited sources
Newest data on Mars rover findings
– shows relevant results
– features highly-cited sources

Comparing Value for Money: Mendeley vs Readcube

Mendeley offers excellent value for money, being entirely free to use. It offers a free reference manager and citation management via an MS Word add-on. This makes it an attractive option for students and researchers on a tight budget. However, its free model comes with some limitations, particularly in citation formatting and accessibility for Mac users since its citation plugin is available for PC. 

Readcube operates on a subscription basis with different tiers for students, academics, and corporate users. The student plan is very affordable at $3 annually, and the platform offers a 30-day free trial. It’s a generous plan timewise, allowing users to explore all of the platform’s features before committing. Billing information isn’t required to start the trial, by the way. Despite lacking a free plan, the reasonable pricing and extensive features make Readcube a cost-effective solution for academic research.

Screenshot of search results at (click to see a large image)
Search results at Mendeley (click to see a large image)
An image showing the personal library view at Readcube
Personal library at Readcube (click to see a large image)

Comparing Overall Experience: Mendeley vs Readcube

Mendeley and Readcube score 23/25, which means they both guarantee a very solid user experience, but with different strengths. Mendeley provides a user-friendly environment within the platform with quick registration, a simple interface, and all necessary features like saving papers to a personal library and tagging them. It integrates well with its reference manager and offers mobile and desktop apps for flexibility. What it lacks is some kind of AI assistant. We’re convinced that it would be a very advantageous solution for research.

Screenshot of the personal library at Mendeley
Personal library at Mendeley (click to see a large image)
A screenshot of citation options at Readcube
Citation options at Readcube (click to see a large image)

Readcube offers a clear and efficient user experience with a business-like interface that may not appeal to everyone. Although its simple grayish design may lack some stylistic flare, to be honest, it’s fine, and there is nothing that could distract from work. The service supports saving references to the library, sharing through various platforms, and provides a smooth performance across desktop and mobile applications. A little handy feature of the tool is that it shows a few interesting metrics for the chosen source. These may be the number of citations from this source, other authors who used this paper in their writing, and links to them. Studying and exploring such metrics may become another step in your research process. Like Mendeley, however, Readcube also doesn’t have any AI-powered assistance. 

The Verdict

In conclusion, Mendeley and Readcube both offer valuable tools for academic research, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Mendeley’s free model and comprehensive features make it ideal for students and researchers on a budget, while Readcube’s high-quality search and affordable subscription plans cater to those needing robust citation management. Both tools provide reliable support for organizing and accessing research materials, with the choice largely depending on individual needs and preferences.

Main Specs: Mendeley vs Readcube

> Quality and Variety of SourcesMendeleyReadcube
> Comprehensiveness (study types, domains)
access to full texts or abstracts
Relevance (Up-to-Date Information)
> Citation Formatting
MLAavailable with the add-on
APAavailable with the add-on
Chicagoavailable with the add-on
Harvardavailable with the add-on
Other stylesavailable with the add-on
> Subscription Cost / pricing
FreeFree trial period: 30 days

Student: $3 billed annually. You need your student’s ID
Discounted pricing for students so you can focus on your studies without worrying about the cost.

Academic: $5 / Month billed annually: Licenses available for academic professionals and individual researchers, as well as non-profit teams.

Corporate: $10: Researchers, small teams, and emerging organizations can benefit from all that Papers has to offer.
> User experience
Integration with Reference Management Tools
search functionality and filtering options
AI assistant
> Support
live chat
help center

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