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ReadCube Desktop is a free-to-download file and reference manager that competes with Papers, Mendeley, and Zotero, among others. Many of its predecessors’ features are replicated in a sleek and lightweight interface from which researchers can manage PDFs, search Google Scholar and PubMed, and annotate documents. But ReadCube is distinguished by its ability to enhance eligible papers with clickable in-line references, a figure browser, and other ways to engage with formerly static PDFs. In attempting to simplify research management, however, ReadCube overcompensates, removing a feature for each it adds. The lack of collaboration features, in particular, makes ReadCube a program ill-suited to the needs of many scholars. In sum, ReadCube is a solid product with much to recommend it, but it falls short of its billing as the “ultimate researcher toolkit.” Note that this review acknowledges, but does not evaluate, ReadCube Access, Labtiva’s pay-as-you-go program for renting or purchasing individual articles.

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The Charleston Company

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The Charleston Advisor