FAQ

We also have Documentation on using the Scholarcy Chrome extension to help you optimise how Scholarcy works with your PDF files.

Q. What is scholarcy?

A. Scholarcy is a service that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to read and condense academic papers into referenced summaries. Either upload your PDFs to Scholarcy, or give Scholarcy the public URL of a PDF and it will read the paper, break it down into readable chunks, and summarise it automatically. It will also read the bibliography and generate a link for each reference so that you can download cited papers. 

Scholarcy only works with public-access PDF URLs that are covered by relevant Creative Commons licences such as the Attribution ShareAlike and Public Domain licenses, as used by repositories such as arXiv.org and BMC.

You must have lawful, legitimate access to any PDF that you upload. Please see our Terms of Service.

Q. what happens to the PDF?

A. Scholarcy deletes the PDF immediately after reading it, and returns the extracted reading list, summaries, and references back to you. Use of these snippets in good faith for the purposes of dissemination of knowledge is covered by US Fair Use and recent UK Copyright Exemptions for Text and data mining for non-commercial research.

Q. Does scholarcy work behind a paywall or with my university subscriptions?

A. Not at this time - currently Scholarcy needs a public URL to a paper, or needs you to upload the paper from your computer.

Q. Hold it right there buddy, the Chrome webstore says that Scholarcy can 'Read and change all your data on the websites that you visit'. Is Scholarcy safe?

A. The Scholarcy Chrome extension has passed all of Google's automated and manual security checks and is safe to use. The extension only needs to read the current URL of the page you have open and its content type. You can also give it permission to upload PDF files from your computer. It does not read or change any data on the page. You will also see the same warning on practically all Chrome Extensions including chart-topping extensions such as Grammarly and Evernote.

Q. I get a 'sorry we can't connect to this URL' error with a sad folder icon

A. This may occur for a number of reasons, such as:

  • the current URL is not a PDF
  • the PDF is behind a paywall
  • the PDF is on ResearchGate (they block us - boo! - but you can upload the PDF instead)
  • the PDF is password-protected or does not allow copying (we respect that)
  • your firewall is blocking the service
  • the PDF file is on your computer (with a file:// url in the browser) and you have not enabled 'Allow access to file URLs'
  • the PDF is too large
  • the server is temporarily busy
  • you have reached the daily limit if you are using a free account.

If the problem persists, please contact us

Q. Scholarcy runs slowly on my PDF

A. Most of the time taken is loading the PDF or Word document from the server where it resides, or uploading the document from your computer. If you are using the Scholarcy Web Library, and are uploading a large document with a slow internet connection, it may take a minute or two before the summary card appears in your library. 

Once it has the PDF, Scholarcy takes around 5-20 seconds to turn the PDF into data. However, some PDFs that live on a slow server, or contain many images, may take more time to process. If you don't require figure extraction:

  • If using the Chrome Extension, right-click on the Scholarcy icon in the Chrome toolbar (or via chrome://extensions/, choose Options, and uncheck 'Extract figures'.
  • If using the Library app, choose Settings and uncheck 'Extract figures'

Q. what do the different highlighting colours mean?

A. Scholarcy automatically highlights important information in the document. Here's what the different colours mean:

  • Purple: Key claims and contributions made by the paper
  • Yellow: Key knowledge statements and take-home facts
  • Green: Populations and statistics: study groups, sample sizes, and outcomes (p values)

Q. why should i upgrade to premium?

A. If you subscribe to the premium version, you will be able to create a searchable library of summary cards that you can access from any device. You will also have access to future premium features such as:

  • export summaries to Word and Evernote
  • essay plan generation

and much more, for a reasonable monthly cost of $4.99 (£3.99/€3.99 in the UK and Europe). 

Q. what happens to my data?

A. We securely store your name, email address, and affiliation if you choose to provide it. If you sign up to our mailing list (via separate opt-in), we use secure, third party services to process your email address. Any other processing of your data is initiated by you, such as requesting a password reset. We do not store credit card or other sensitive information. Our payment services are handled by Stripe. See our Terms of Service for more information. You can also delete your account at any time and this will completely remove your information from our systems, apart from data required for legal compliance purposes.

Q. I'm a publisher or other commercial organisation - can I use scholarcy in my products?

A. In future, yes, we have an API and are very keen to work with other companies who would like to use our technology in their products and services. For example, Scholarcy is probably the only tool out there that can

  • extract references accurately from any PDF or Word document, in any referencing style, link them to Google Scholar, and convert them to BibTeX so you can reformat them into your own house style.
  • extract key terms, glossaries, facts, claims and summaries from documents of almost any size (hundreds of pages or more)