I discovered scite while conducting the literature review section of a research proposal. I was looking for a way to distill the information I was retrieving and was open to trying out different tools.
Eventually, I landed on Scite, Research Rabbit, and Connected Papers and decided to try all three since they appeared to complement each other. This article describes scite and how it can be useful for students and others involved in research.
What is scite?
Scite is a tool that can help students discover and understand the papers that they come across when conducting their literature reviews. It uses Smart Citations to display the context of citations–specifically denoting whether the source has been supported, disputed, or retracted.
Traditional citations are simply references between one publication to another. In the papers you write, you include these references to other articles. Smart Citations takes this process a step further by providing more context when the citation to a published manuscript is made.
The extracted citation is considered a Smart Citation. These citations include details about the cited papers, the actual text, and the location of the citation within the citing paper. A note about whether the citation is supporting, mentioning, or contrasting the key points of the cited article is also included.
How do I use scite?
To use scite:
- Create an account; log in
- Search for the article you are interested in using the search bar. This search goes through over one billion citation statements to determine the discourse around a topic
- Use the visualization field to identify how your article is related to other similar publications and what articles are saying about other papers they cite
- Retrieve the references you need for your research proposal
- Set up alerts to stay up to date on citations as they happen
You can access a sample publication report here
How is scite useful?
Scite is helpful for students, other academics, and journalists
Students working on their dissertations, term papers, thesis proposals, literature reviews, or other research papers or proposals should consider using scite for the following reasons:
- It enables users to find suitable articles through its visualization platform
- It saves users time as articles related to a topic and how they have been supported, mentioned, or contrasted in the literature, are available when you need them. Importantly, scites’ algorithm checks that users are citing a trusted source.
Researchers looking to build their subject matter knowledge and stay up to date on new publications in their field can also enjoy scite’s approach to engaging with the research literature. I also see how journalists and other content creators can use scite to validate their findings and curtail the spread of misinformation.
A note on browser extensions: Scite has extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers, which helps users quickly initiate scite to see the classification of different papers.
A note on pricing: The tool is not entirely free to use. However, for most projects, users will be able to use the tool without a paid plan. Students and other academics can also access their educational pricing at 30%-50% off.
What are alternative sites to scite.ai?
Some may see traditional reference managers, like Mendeley, EasyBib.com, Zotero, EndNote, and ReadCube papers, as scite alternatives. However, the Citation statements that scite offers are unique and currently not available when using other platforms.
Scite allows users to find the most relevant scientific evidence for their projects. Scite is helpful for students and other researchers working on their dissertations, master’s thesis, and other research proposals and manuscripts. It is also valuable for journalists looking to grasp topics in an academic field quickly.
The app does not take away the work that users have to do when engaging with academic papers. While not having to read every article you come across can be immensely useful, understanding the author’s main argument(s) is essential to thoroughly engaging in scientific research.
By helping to classify research as providing supporting or disputing evidence, scite is an excellent addition to writing your next paper.
I am a scite.ai affiliate and this post is based solely on my experience with the app. If you purchase a scite plan with this link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
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