Papers by is well renowned as one of the best, if not the best, applications for managing academic literature. We last reviewed Papers back in 2009 and concluded:

“Papers for the iPhone is a must-have for any clinician who frequently searches medical literature, whether for academic or patient care purposes. Once you find an article and discover it’s useful, chances are you’ll need it again sometime in the future. Now, with this powerful iPhone app, you’ll never have to look further than your pocket.”

With the recent release of Papers 2.0 and the many updates to the iOS app, we have decided to take a look at Papers for iPad and see if it is as successful in tablet form as it is on the iPhone.

Papers puts your entire research literature database in your pocket, available at your fingertips wherever you go whether you’re at a conference, in class, visiting your peers, on the couch, or on the road. It has won many awards including an Apple Design Award due to its clever intuitive design and interface.


Papers comes with 8 built-in search engines that allow you access to millions of articles at any time. It is simple and straightforward to search for academic papers and download the PDFs to your device. It is possible to search the papers within your library by Title, Journal, Author, or Title and navigation within the app is as simple as the flick of a finger. Touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom map reading and annotating papers are easy and joyful. The extensive screen real estate of the iPad lends itself to reading and managing papers on the go.


In addition, it is possible to email, print and share a paper with other Papers users wirelessly. Recent updates have allowed Papers to import files from web storage services like Dropbox whilst the ability to manually backup your library for free using Amazons S3 service is an added bonus. The iPad version can store 5,000 papers whilst the iPhone version stores 1,000.


Syncing between the desktop app and the iPad app is accomplished wirelessly and relatively hassle free. Despite the first sync taking a long time (upwards of 30 mins for a library of 1,000 papers), the ease of use managing a library wirelessly is not to be underestimated. Whilst Papers for iOS maintains full functionality, the link between iPad and desktop is what really makes the package special. The increased cost of desktop and iOS app is well worth the investment as Papers is indispensable.



  • $14.99 (Desktop Mac app $79)


  • Straightforward and simple to manage large numbers of academic papers
  • Wireless syncing with desktop version of Papers
  • Universal app


  • Excellent as a standalone app yet really needs the link to the desktop version for ultimate literature management.

Overall Rating:

  • Papers for iPad continues the excellent work done by mekentosj.
  • Like the iPhone version, this app is indispensable for any clinician who regularly accesses or reads medical literature.
  • This app is highly recommended and the time saved using an app like Papers more than makes up for the initial investment.
  • An excellent example of how mobile technology can make a significant impact on a users life.

iTunes link: