I was using Mendeley for some time. Although I like some its features, it has serious limitations regarding space and, most of all, it doesn't make possible to use another cloud based storage service (DropBox, Box, Google Drive, you name it). The problem is that every file needs to be uploaded to Mendeley's database. Also, it will get downloaded to a local copy if it is modified (very irritating when it's just changing path, filename or even if annotated in an external reader). Add multiple machines (with different paths) and you get a crazy mess of duplicated files everywhere. Each time you log in a different computer, Mendeley tries to sync again and downloads the files to your local folder or re-uploads the same file to the database.

The result is multiple files, cloud and local space wrongly allocated to files that already exist somewhere and should be in only one place (or two if you consider back up copy but that's not a concern here).

My ideal software would have

  • Whatchfolder compatibility with other storage services (as in do not create additional copies by any circumstance in any machine or cloud service, just notice the folder has a new file and add the data to the library). That's why all this services are good, because they manage to let as 'overwrite' the same file over and over independently of the machine we're working on.
  • Reference manager abilities easily integrated while writing.
  • Easy Import/Export from/to bibtex.
  • Easy to search/access database and metadata (I think this is Mendeley's key advantage).
  • Easy to learn.

I don't need fancy PDF annotation, most of the reading/annotation will be done in another PDF reader (Acrobat,Foxit, you name it). I don't need sorting/arranging files into folders. I need the software to update the library every time new papers are added and being able to cite them while writing with ease.


  • Which OS must it run on? Windows, Apple OS and Linux
  • Any price tag? Preferably free. If I'm going to pay for something let it be space unlimited. That's why I want to use other cloud services I'm already paying for the space (compare Google's prices and Mendeley's prices)
  • Should it be following a client-server model, and if so, could you self-host the server part? I don't think so but I'm open if that's a concrete alternative.

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