If you’ve ever authored content, you know that reference management software provides immense value and time savings by automatically formatting citations. Whether you come from a small, mid-sized, or large company, a reliable reference management system is extremely important. While there are a lot of great reference management tools on the market, there are some special considerations for those in corporate settings. Many reference managers were built for individual or academic use, which may not meet the needs of those authoring in a corporate environment.

Here are five key questions you may want to explore if your company is looking for reference management software.

  1. Is it easy to use?

As a corporate professional, having reference management capabilities tightly integrated into the tools you use is a major time saver. In many companies, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint are commonly used by Medical Affairs and other medical writers, so look for offerings that can support the software most often used in your company. Some tools may require users to move back and forth between Microsoft Word and the reference manager when adding or editing reference. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but those clicks add up! Look for a tool that enables users to cite references from the reference manager’s libraries or folders directly through Microsoft Word. Having access to a reference management tool that is embedded into your common tools will improve efficiency. If you commonly need to order the articles being cited, look for a tool that also supports the ability to order articles directly from Microsoft Word.

“As a medical writer, I have 5+ applications running, 10+ tabs open, and 15+ documents that I am actively working on. I need a tool that allows me to search for references and cite those references within my workflow. I don’t have time to jump back and forth between tabs, applications, and documents.”

– Medical writer at a mid-sized biotech company

  1. Does it make it easy to centrally manage new references?

As a researcher, staying up to date on new information can be challenging. You may use multiple search tools to find relevant information, and those references can be saved in multiple places. If references are not saved in one location with specific identifiers, it can be difficult to recall that information when needing to re-cite those references later on. So, make sure your reference manager provides integrations with your preferred search and discovery tools (Google Scholar, PubMed, etc.). That way, references can easily be added to specific libraries/folders for faster recall.

  1. Is document delivery integrated?

In life sciences, safety and regulatory teams frequently submit documents to regulatory authorities which requires attaching the full text of articles cited within a document. In many reference managers, this requires you to copy and paste individual citations into the reference manager, or to use a separate software or process to get access to request a copy of the article. Instead, look for a tool that supports the ability to order multiple references within a document at once through Microsoft Word. Taking it one step further, you can save significant time and money if your reference manager can automatically detect if a reference is included within your subscriptions or has already been ordered by a team member and is accessible for re-use under your company’s licenses. Some tools even offer seamless checking of re-use rights so teams can verify whether an article of which they already have a copy can be sent to a regulatory body under a copyright license.

  1. How well does it support collaborative workflows?

Within a corporate setting, it is common to work together in teams on completing projects. It’s critical that the reference manager you choose supports collaborative processes. For example, within Medical Affairs, a large team may be sharing an approved set of citations when responding to HCP questions. First, it’s critical that all members of the team are able to work from the same set of shared citations. Secondly, the list of approved citations often needs to be updated over time to keep up as the science adapts – and all team members need to be able to easily work from the updated citation set. Some reference managers were designed to support libraries only for individual users. Look for a reference manager that makes it easy for groups of colleagues to work from the same citation library. To further improve collaboration, team members should be able to get notified when references are added to a library and whether they have been reviewed, commented, or annotated. Access to these features can improve a team’s shared knowledge and delivery speed.

  1. Does it support your custom citation styles?

There are over 10,000 standard citation styles out there, but many companies choose to create a custom citation style that meets their own unique needs. Look for a tool that can support the creation of custom styles. You may also want to take into consideration how easy it is to share that style with groups of users. In some reference managers, each user needs to create the custom style for themselves instead of taking advantage of a shared master style. By partnering with a vendor who can support your custom styles or content types, you can reduce roadblocks that could occur during your authoring/submission process.

In the life sciences market alone, over 900 companies use CCC products and services. With a roadmap driven by R&D-intensive industry leaders, we are dedicated to meeting the needs of users in corporate environments. Our RightFind Enterprise & RightFind Cite It products were designed for enterprise users and can help address your reference management needs.

RightFind’s integrated reference management capabilities for Microsoft Word and soon for Power Point, are available for Windows and Mac and offer over 10,000 citation styles, as well as the ability to customize styles to supporting your unique authoring needs. With RightFind, all team members can store references in one centralized location, order full text when needed, and cite references with ease using familiar tools.

CCC’s RightFind Suite provides a single place to access, read, cite, share, store, organize, and collaborate on content, and offers the functionality you need to use content effectively in your organization.  With secure and direct access to full-text articles, simplify the authentication process for company subscriptions, open access, and internal collections. You will have access to the most comprehensive collection of scientific, technical and medical content to purchase unsubscribed articles from over 155 million citations. And with Shared Libraries, facilitate copyright-compliant collaboration within teams, from simple workspaces to highly customized content workflows based on role.

If you would like to learn more about what CCC’s RightFind has to offer, please visit our RightFind Suite page.


Author: Christine McCarty

Christine Wyman McCarty is product marketing director for corporate solutions at Copyright Clearance Center. Through over a decade of experience working with clients at R&D intensive companies, she has gained an understanding of the challenges they face in finding, accessing, and deriving insight from published content. She draws on this expertise to shape innovative product offerings that solve market problems. Christine has held a variety of positions at CCC including roles in software implementation and product management. Christine has a Masters in Library and Information Science from Simmons University and practiced librarianship for several years before finding her passion for helping companies digitalize their knowledge workflows with software.
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