12 Best AI Tools for Academic Research (Free + Paid) UPDATED

Have you ever wondered how artificial intelligence could transform academic research? As researchers and students grapple with the challenges of conducting thorough investigations and producing high-quality papers, AI tools are emerging as game-changers in the world of academia.

These innovative applications are easing research processes, enhancing data analysis, and accelerating discoveries, making it easier than ever to tackle complex research questions and generate insightful findings. 

We will explore some of the most powerful AI tools that are changing academic research and helping scholars achieve breakthroughs in their respective fields. So, buckle up and get ready to discover how AI is reshaping the landscape of academic research and unlocking new possibilities for innovation!

What is the role of AI in Academic Research?

Artificial Intelligence is playing a crucial role in academic research, transforming various aspects of the research process and accelerating scientific discovery. By utilizing machine learning algorithms and data analytics, researchers can process vast amounts of data, extract meaningful insights, and automate redundant tasks. 

Key areas where AI is making an impact include a literature review and knowledge synthesis, where these tools can quickly identify relevant papers and extract key information. It facilitates collaboration and organization among researchers. It assists in improving grammar, language, and adherence to scholarly writing conventions. Furthermore, it ensures the integrity of academic research by detecting various types of plagiarism, including AI-generated content.

1. Consensus


Consensus is an advanced search engine that helps find answers to questions by analyzing research papers. This artificial intelligence tool helps researchers and students to find reliable information quickly. Notably, The tool provides accurate information from credible sources.

Consensus Key Features:
Uses natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to extract relevant information from research papers.
An easy-to-use interface to search for information by asking a question.
Covers a wide range of topics, from biology to social sciences.
Provides answers to simple yes/no questions or more complex questions about the relationship between concepts or the effects of a concept.
Great tool for fact-checking, as it provides users with information from peer-reviewed research papers. 

Consensus Pricing 

Free plan with unlimited searches and limited summaries.

Premium plan at $7.99 per month (billed annually) with unlimited GPT-4 summaries and other additional features. 

Students can claim a 40% discount on the platform.

2. SciSpace


SciSpace is an end-to-end integrated research platform to help researchers understand academic texts better. Copilot, a free Chrome extension of SciSpace, gives users real-time answers to articles, no matter where they read them online. It can simplify and explain any text highlighted in the paper being read. 

SciSpace Key Features:
Upload PDFs, highlight text, math, and tables, and get summaries and explanations of confusing sections of research papers.
Ask follow-up questions to dive deeper into a topic and remove all doubts while reading.
Citations and related papers are easily accessible with each paper.
AI Detector feature can help students ensure originality in their writing and avoid getting poor grades or rejection.

SciSpace Pricing

  • Basic Plan: This plan is free with limited features. 
  • Researcher Plan: Priced at $8 per month billed yearly. 
  • Team Plan (Most Popular): Priced at $6 per user per month billed yearly.  

3. PDFgear


PDFgear is an artificial intelligence tool for academic researchers to read, edit, and annotate research papers, highlight important sections, and add comments. It also converts research papers to different formats, making it easier to share and collaborate with colleagues.

PDFgear offers a clean and intuitive PDF editing and reading UI from which users can easily find and jump to their desired pages using page thumbnails and smoothly pan across pages in the PDF document

PDFgear Key Features:
Commenting and markup tools that streamline the entire PDF work process.
Guaranteed safety of exported files with no watermark or file formatting loss.
Conversion from PDF to Word, PNG, JPG, JPEG, Image, Excel, PPT, PPTX, and PSD, and vice versa.
Extraction, rotation, deletion, and addition of pages to PDF.

PDFgear Pricing

PlanPricePlan Features
Annual$19.99One year of PDFgear updates, one year of access to all features, no watermark, and free tech support
Perpetual$49.99Forever access to PDFgear, all features, no watermark, and free tech support

4. Elicit


Elicit is a free AI research assistant that eases and automates research workflows, helping to make well-informed decisions. It utilizes advanced language models to perform various tasks, including information extraction, summarization, brainstorming, and text classification.  

Elicit Key Features:
Ability to find relevant papers without relying on exact keyword matches
User-friendly interface and clear instructions for easy navigation
Ability to organize and categorize large volumes of data

5. Scite


Scite helps in discovering and evaluating scientific articles via Smart Citations. Smart Citations assists users in seeing how a publication has been cited by providing the context of the citation and a classification describing whether it provides supporting or contrasting evidence for the cited claim.

Scite Key Features:
Reference Check
Explore Journals, Organizations, and Funders
Embedding Badge and Citation Search
Notification of new supporting or contrasting citations
Interactive Scite Visualizations

Scite Pricing

  • Monthly plan at $20.00 per month
  • Yearly plan at $144.00 annually

Both plans include a 7-day free trial and allow for cancellation at any time.

6. Research Rabbit

Research Rabbit

Research Rabbit is a free literature review tool that helps researchers reimagine their research by providing personalized recommendations, powerful visualizations, and non-spammy alerts. The AI-powered tool helps in discovering new papers and staying up-to-date with the latest research. 

Research Rabbit Key Features:
Collaboration features that allow users to work together on collections and leave comments on papers.
Zotero integration for easy import and export of papers between the two apps.
Citation-based mapping, including similar, earlier, and later works.

7. Gradescope


Gradescope is a versatile tool that can be used by academic researchers to grade and manage handwritten assignments. Instructors can create their answer keys, setpoint values and partial credit options for each question, and adjust them later as needed.

Gradescope Key Features:
Offers quick, flexible grading, allowing instructors to apply detailed feedback with just one click.
Provides detailed feedback to students, helping them understand how they're doing in the class.
Instructors can see the question and rubric-level statistics to better understand what their students know and easily export grades and data.
Assists instructors in scanning bubble sheets, batch student bubble sheets, and auto-grade them according to the answer key.

Gradescope Pricing

  • Offers a Basic plan which is completely free.
  • The Institutional plan's pricing can be availed by contacting the sales team

8. Bit.ai

Bit AI

Bit.ai is a workplace and document collaboration platform for teams and individuals to create, collaborate, and organize all their knowledge in one place from anywhere in the world. This AI-powered tool can create fast dynamic notes, documents, wikis, knowledge bases, projects, client deliverables, technical docs, training guides, and client portals.

Bit.ai Key Features:
Website Embed
Data Rooms
Smart Editor
Link Previews
Smart Widgets
Cloud Files
Content Library
Share in Multiple Ways
Document Tracking 

Bit.ai Pricing

PlanPrice per member per monthFeatures
Free$0Up to 5 members, up to 50 documents, content library, multiple import options, 5 MB file limit, and 1 GB storage.
Pro$8 (billed annually)All Free features plus unlimited members, unlimited documents, multiple export options, 200 MB file limit, and 500 GB storage.
Business$15 (billed annually)All Pro features plus trackable documents, unlimited storage, free guest access, priority support, access to success team, and personalized team demos.
Education, Non-profit, and StartupCustomizedTailored to meet specific needs in terms of features. Contact the Bit team to discuss specific features and set a price for your custom plan.

9. Semantic Scholar 

Semantic Scholar

Semantic Scholar is a free research tool for scientific literature. It is a reliable on-demand source of data for the global research community. Semantic Scholar provides a citation graph that helps researchers navigate the scientific literature more efficiently. 

Semantic Scholar Key Features:
Provides a massive database of academic materials covering a breadth of information in all scientific disciplines.
Simplifies research workflows, finds contextual information and saves time while researching.
API includes paper search, better documentation, and increased stability.

10. ReadCube Papers

ReadCube Papers

ReadCube Papers is a reference management software that collects and curates research material and organizes, reads, annotates, share, and cite references. The software also features a personalized recommendation engine and related article feeds to ensure users never miss an important paper again.

ReadCube Papers Key Features:
Automatic identification and matching of imported articles.
Tags, labels, ratings, smart collections, file management, and watch folders for organization.
Private shared collections for collaboration with up to 30 other Papers users.
Syncing of the entire library across all devices, including desktops, mobile devices, and web browsers. 

ReadCube Papers Pricing

  • Student at $3/month (billed annually, requires valid student ID).
  • Academic at $5/month (billed annually).
  • Corporate at $10/month (billed annually).
  • Lab Package (Academic) available for $675/year (billed annually).

11. OpenRead


OpenRead is an interactive paper platform that changes the way researchers interact with scientific papers. It enhances the organization, interaction, and analysis of various literature formats. The platform's AI technology extracts figures, formulas, tables, and other important details from research papers, eliminating the need to search manually.

OpenRead Key Features:
Helps users to ask questions related to the paper.
Produces paragraph and overall paper summaries.
Offers extensive reading mode that can capture the core value of a paper within 5 minutes.
Offers Paper Q&A to ask any question about the paper and receive a quick response within seconds.
Offers Paper Espresso, which generates users' own literature review by digesting papers.
Boasts a powerful AI assistant named Oat, which assists users in tasks such as data analysis and other repetitive tasks, and also responds to any research-related inquiries. 

OpenRead Pricing

  • Free Plan at $0/year. 
  • Basic Plan at $57/year.
  • Premium Plan at $228/year. 

12. Trinka


Trinka is an AI-powered writing assistant that checks text for grammar, spelling, style, and consistency errors and gives corrective and actionable feedback. This artificial intelligence tool is useful for academic and technical writing and is specifically built for academic writers who are inexperienced in written English.

Trinka Key Features:
Enhancements for publication-ready writing.
Detects issues with subject-verb agreement, syntax, word choices, the use of pronouns and articles, technical spelling, and more nuanced elements such as professional tone in the writing style.
Ideal for detecting different types of contextual mistakes involved with various forms of academic writing.
Can assist authors in making sure their prose is succinct without sacrificing clarity or meaning while incorporating both the desired technical terms required for the task at hand as well as proper conjugation when necessary.

Trinka Pricing

  • The basic plan is for free. 
  • Premium plan costs $80 per user per year. 

What are the potential challenges faced while adopting AI for academic research?

Adopting AI in academic research presents several challenges. One of the primary concerns is that AI adoption could challenge valuable academic paradigms, such as assessment and course design. Additionally, there are concerns about cheating and academic integrity, as AI-generated content becomes more sophisticated and harder to detect.

Data quality is another issue, as AI systems require high-quality data to function effectively. Insufficient or low-quality data can hinder the performance and usefulness of AI in academic research. The lack of AI expertise among faculty and administrators is another barrier to adoption. Institutions need access to support sources, up-to-date knowledge of AI, and strategies for building trans-departmental collaboration to address these challenges.

Ethical issues, such as potential biases in AI algorithms and data privacy concerns, also need to be addressed. Ensuring transparency, security, and compliance with data protection laws is crucial for the successful implementation of AI in academic research. 

Final thoughts

We have discussed various AI tools that have reshaped academic research, making it more efficient and productive. These advanced tools have demonstrated their potential to assist researchers in summarizing research papers, analyzing data, and even generating content.

However, it is essential to remember that AI should support human analysis and critical thinking rather than replace them. As we embrace the power of AI in academic research, we must also exercise caution and use our domain expertise to analyze the outputs generated by these tools. This ensures the correctness and reliability of the data collected from research publications.

With the rapid advancements in AI technology, one cannot help but question:

Will we see a new era of collaboration between these AI tools and humans, leading to unprecedented breakthroughs in various fields of study?

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