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Essential Academic AI Apps

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Jessica Rachid
4 min read

Since it launched late last year, over one-third of university students have used ChatGPT to complete schoolwork, according to a survey by But in a world now flooded with AI-powered apps, finding the ones that can truly empower students and academics can be challenging.

Here are some of the tools that are widely regarded in the academic community as having the power to revolutionise the way students – from undergrad to PhD – search, assimilate and apply academic literature:

Search Engines for Scholars

  • SciLynk is a research organization tool designed to make the research process more efficient by helping users to more easily locate and organise academic literature. Founded by Arnav Chakravarthy and Arvind Kumar, the tool aims to speed up the often-time-consuming tasks of finding, organising, and analysing research.
  • Scinapse is a non-profit academic search engine dedicated to facilitating paper searches, and is operated by the Pluto Network. It provides a free platform for researchers to access scholarly papers and resources.
  • Perplexity is a free knowledge app that offers easy access to reliable and up-to-date information. It utilizes AI technology, including OpenAI's GPT-4 and Anthropic's Claude 2, to provide users with answers to their research questions. The app is designed to optimise knowledge acquisition and is accessible across multiple devices, offering an alternative approach to learning.
  • Semantic Scholar is a free platform that helps scholars gain new insights through AI-powered search and discovery. It offers open-access resources to the global research community, boasting an extensive database of over 200 million academic papers collected from various sources, including publisher partnerships, data providers, and web crawls.
  • OpenAlex is an expansive multidisciplinary open academic database, which can be accessed directly through Scholarcy. This integration allows users to efficiently search across millions of published papers and import chosen articles as concise Summary Flashcards into Scholarcy, to speed up the screening process.

Answering Research Questions

  • Claude is a large language model (LLM) developed by Anthropic that has primarily been designed to serve as a useful conversational assistant. This natural language processing tool and aims to fill knowledge gaps using a conversational question and answering approach.
  • Created by the US-based company OpenAI, ChatGPT is a Generative AI model tailored for human interaction. A sibling of InstructGPT, ChatGPT is designed to give comprehensive responses to human prompts, enabling users to seek information on wide-ranging topics, from quantum computing to human physiology.

Effortless Literature Review

  • Iris has dedicated eight years to developing an acclaimed AI engine specializing in scientific text comprehension. Their achievements include advanced algorithms for text similarity, tabular data extraction, domain-specific entity representation learning, and entity disambiguation.Additionally, Iris creates a comprehensive knowledge graph that encompasses all entities and their relationships, to facilitate learning and analysis.
  • Elicit uses language models to extract data and text from research papers.While language models may occasionally introduce inaccuracies, Elicit has fine-tuned language models for specific tasks to improve precision. It lets users effortlessly verify information by accessing the original source and pinpointing the relevant text.
  • Inciteful's mission is to provide free tools that facilitate the advancement of academic research. Whether you want to build knowledge of a new subject, access the latest scholarly works, or make connections between ideas, Inciteful aims to help. What sets Inciteful apart from conventional search engines is its reliance on citations as the foundation for all of its tools.This has become feasible following the emergence of open scholarly bibliographic data. 
  • Research Rabbit offers a more intuitive and interconnected way of exploring and managing academic literature. Its mission is to better support today’s academic community by reimagining the way research is conducted.
  • Connected Papers is a visual tool designed to assist researchers and applied scientists in discovering and navigating papers pertinent to their field of study. Initially conceived as a weekend side project among friends, the creators recognized a significant gap in research tools and decided to make it available to the broader scientific community. The founders, driven by their own challenges in academic research, saw the need fora tool that simplifies the literature search process. The gap they identified was the ability to visually map and explore the connections between academic papers, which is often a complex and time-consuming task. Connected Papers is a valuable resource crafted "for science" to facilitate more efficient and effective research.

Reading Research Papers

  • SciSpace offers a user-friendly solution for locating, understanding, and analysing research papers. It provides straightforward explanations and AI-driven answers to questions about studies, along with connections to related papers—all accessible from a single platform. Recognizing the time researchers waste on tasks like internet searches and paper formatting, SciSpace provides an end-to-end workspace designed to improve collaboration, automate repetitive tasks, and expedite information retrieval. With a vast repository of over 200million papers, including 50 million open-access full-text PDFs, SciSpace is dedicated to simplifying research discovery and learning by implementing features that cater to researchers, publishers, and institutions alike.
  • Scholarcy was born out of the need for a more efficient way to read and retain information from research papers during its founder’s PhD journey. Recognizing the challenge faced by researchers having to sift through hundreds of saved papers to identify the most relevant and useful ones, Scholarcy's mission is to enable smarter reading and better comprehension through its unique and consistent Flashcard format. Instead of merely extracting abstracts or introductions from articles, Scholarcy provides context, highlights critical sections, and allows users to save and export collections of summaries for further analysis. Continually evolving, Scholarcy aims to make everyday research faster and more productive for its users.

AI tools like Scholarcy, SciLynk, and Connected Papers are transforming academic research. Scholarcy's conversion of complex papers into a clear, concise flashcard format aids information processing. These AI tools have the potential to facilitate more efficient research and organization and are becoming ever more sophisticated.