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Finding the best PubMed search app for the iPhone & iPad: Review of 6 PubMed applications

By: Wouter Stomp MD and Nick Genes MD,PhD

Whether you’re a doctor, student or researcher, you probably have to use Pubmed, the US National Library of Medicine’s publicly accessible index of Medline citations, on a regular basis. Although Pubmed has a mobile version of its website, it looks outdated and is not the easiest to use. Several apps have appeared in the Apple’s app store for iOS devices, to improve your searching experience.

The following post contains analysis and reviews of the following six Pubmed apps for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch):

* Mobile Abstracts
* Orkov
* Pubmed Clip
* Pubmed on Tap
* Pubmed Library
* Pubsearch Plus

Please note: Use the above hyperlinked index in order to go directly to the specific app’s page in the review. The conclusion is on the last page of this expansive review.

Mobile Abstracts:

(iPhone $0.99/EUR 0.79, iPad $1.99/EUR 1.59)

Mobile Abstracts is a really basic Pubmed searching app. You can search Pubmed, view the abstracts, and pull up pdf’s. Also it has basic bookmarking functionality built-in and abstracts can be sent over email, but that’s about it. The interface leaves some things to be desired, with blue on black text and stretching out the text over the full width of the column.

The iPad version, which must be purchased separately, isn’t any better. The search interface is clunky, forcing you to enter authors and terms in separate fields (that aren’t so clearly marked). When you find your reference and click “full text” the app jumps to safari — no built in webkit, no pdf manipulation.

Not recommended, easily the weakest of the bunch we reviewed.

iTunes Link:



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10 Responses to Finding the best PubMed search app for the iPhone & iPad: Review of 6 PubMed applications

  1. PubMedUser January 27, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    According to this tweet, NCBI is working on a new PubMed Mobile right now.!/ncbi_pub

    • Iltifat Husain January 27, 2011 at 11:15 am #

      This is very interesting — we’d love for you to comment here or send us an email when they go live with their PubMed mobile app

  2. Digicmb | medlibmob January 29, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Nice review, but what about: Papers and PubGet?

    • Iltifat Husain January 29, 2011 at 5:51 am #

      We’ll have a review of papers publishing next week. It’s a pretty
      comprehensive app, and provides a lot more functionality then these
      apps, as the conclusion of this review stated.

      • Whitney January 31, 2011 at 5:30 am #

        I work at Pubget, and per the previous comment, I’d be happy to provide you with more information about our mobile site. Our mobile site, just like our website,, directly connects researchers to all the papers they have access to- either through their institution, or open access content. Basically, whenever possible, they get the PDF right away. As it is a website, not an app, it is free. You just need to have your institution activated to search your subscriptions- which is also free for non-profits and universities. Feel free to email me at: wkmetz[at]pubget[dot]com for more info.

        • Iltifat Husain February 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

          Thanks Whitney for this information — very interesting. The nice thing about the webapp is the fact that it will work on all platforms.

  3. PubMedUser March 18, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Mobile PubMed was launched yesterday:

    • Iltifat Husain March 23, 2011 at 3:59 am #

      Thanks for this tip! We did a story about it yesterday based on your comment!

  4. Diana Frame March 25, 2011 at 4:38 am #

    Hi guys! I wonder if you might consider doing a review of PubSavvy as well (, or… in iTunes). I created PubSavvy since I search PubMed frequently for my “day job,” and other apps didn’t have some key features I wanted, like the ability to select from a list instead of one-by-one, or refine searches based on some handy limits / pre-saved search strings. We’ve just released an update and are already working on the next version, so I would be eager to hear your feedback and suggestions. Thanks!

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