What is it?

CiteULike is a social bookmarking network for academic content. Similar to Mendeley it lets you collect papers, but doesn't offer reference manager tools, such as Cite While You Write or creating bibliographies formatted to a specific citation style. CiteULike was created in 2004 by Richard Cameron, who couldn't find an existing tool that allowed him to collect all his research materials in one place easily and efficiently, so he decided to create it himself. In fact, CiteULike pre-dates the development of both Zotero and Mendeley by a number of years. In a way, CiteULike seems like the bridge between the more traditional EndNote and Reference Manager and the fully-featured social reference managers Zotero and Mendeley.

Originally, CiteULike only allowed you to collate all your research materials and to organise them through using tags. The user can add as many tags as they like to a paper and in this way group papers together in different collections. Social components were added later in the form of the ability to share your library and through groups, in which researchers can save papers collectively. Additionally, they can communicate within the groups via a forum.

What can it do for me?

CiteULike will allow you to create collections of links to papers, which you can then download and import into your reference manager of choice, or serve as an alternative way to browse what is new and talked about in your field of research. It might serve as a way to discover who is doing similar reading, and presumably similar work, to you and thus might be interesting to reach out to.

Privacy issues?

Their privacy policy is solid and it looks like CiteULike takes its users' privacy very seriously. You can provide as much or as little information in your profile as you want, so you can make your presence as incognito as you like.

Pros & Cons


  • CiteULike is easy to use;
  • Unlike Mendeley, EndNote, and Reference Manager, CiteULike is not owned by a publisher or a for-profit entity;
  • CiteULike offers easy organisation through tagging;
  • Also compatible with LaTex.


  • The layout is quite basic visually;
  • No Cite While You Write feature;
  • It is another place to collect information;
  • CiteULike is not a one-stop-solution for your reference managing.