It would be very useful to have a shared bib file across my research group which can be kept up-to-date by any member of the group. Are there any tools for this sort of thing? I know about Mendeley which allows bib sharing and syncing. Are there any other tools?

  • What about AFS openafs.org? Create virtual disk and share whatever including bib files...
    – Crowley
    Aug 9, 2010 at 11:08
  • 8
    You could of course simply put the bib file into a version control system (or use a Dropbox share).
    – Caramdir
    Aug 9, 2010 at 11:21

4 Answers 4


You should take a look at Mendeley (http://www.mendeley.com/welcome/), great free software. I'm not fully sure the function you're looking for is there, but there are elaborate options to share citation information with collegues (also in a hidden environment so only people you like can access :)

Please note that currently Elsevier owns Mendeley. They happily collect as much data as possible from Mendeley users. Keep that in mind when thinking of creating an account.


We are simply using svn + JabRef + standardised JabRef settings; works well. JabRef automatically enforces a consistent formatting and ordering of the Bibtex entries. After saving the file in JabRef, you can easily use "svn diff" to see what was changed, and commit the changes if everything looks good.

The only issue is that JabRef tries to support collaboration as well, which doesn't make much sense if you are using svn. Therefore it seems to be easiest to close the file in JabRef before running "svn up" so that JabRef doesn't try to do anything clever.


nbibtex. I discuss shared .bib files and why nbibtex is great in another answer.

  • nbibtex sounds intriguing, but I'm curious about how well would that work in practice when you have multiple collaborators and possibly multiple .bib files with different conventions each. Aug 9, 2010 at 12:39
  • @Juan: You do pretty much need to agree on the author:keyword convention, but this is flexible. My attitude to working with others is that dynamically using Bibtex is more trouble than it's worth, and you should paste in \bibitems by hand into the document - this works well enough that I've never tried Nbibtex in such situations. But it's definitely more convenient for generating the .bbl files in the first place. Aug 9, 2010 at 15:59

You could try CiteULike. I use it as my primary reference database; it makes it easy to add an article by automatically scraping journal webpages. It exports to BibTeX (very easily; you can bookmark a particular URL which will download the bib file). Moreover, it has a 'groups' feature where multiple people can share a common library.

  • A similar service/app is Zotero (zotero.org). I use it a lot.
    – Frank
    Aug 16, 2010 at 17:28
  • Unfortunately, CiteULike was closed some years ago. Sep 13, 2020 at 20:02

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