Your ideas are clear and information is abundant, but the link between finding publications and getting all of your notes in order is still unclear. The solution: Use Chrome browser extensions for digital organisation and allow them to guide your everyday research plan, allowing you to reach those academic goals with ease.
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Chrome extensions will help you to avoid loose PDF’s, break up your to-do lists, and sort your notes with a click of a button. The best part is: they are easily integrated into Chrome, free, and ready to use immediately.
There are many great Chrome extensions out there, but only a few are needed to truly elevate your academic routine. These are all easy to set up, integrate, and use. These extensions form a seamless workflow that will connect ideas, papers, and notes into one easy to understand and low maintenance system. Of course, research isn’t just about collecting papers and organising information, which is why there are also Chrome extensions to help you manage the everyday tasks, such as meetings, new ideas, and more. An even more comprehensive process to managing a literature review is described in-depth in the Effortless Literature Review course.
Here’s a collection of Chrome extensions that work together to help keep you organised and productive:
1. The Google Scholar Chrome Extension
Unlike the google scholar web version, the Chrome extension opens up in the corner of any tab, allowing you to quickly search for and download a paper without leaving your workflow. Easily look up that paper a colleague recommended and get displayed the most relevant and impactful publications. Plug in the key words for what you want to find and the google scholar plugin takes it from there.
Use cases for the Google Scholar Chrome Extension
- Find specific papers (such as all the publications from a specific author)
- Find the original research in your field (simply type in key phrases in the topic you want to learn more about and find the most popular and impactful papers).
After downloading papers you can add them directly to a scholar library, keeping all of your papers in one place.
2. Workona Spaces and Tab Manager Chrome Extension
This Chrome extension allows you to break up and organise your open tabs into projects or groups and switch between them with one click. When working on a lot of information e.g. a literature review we end up with dozens of tabs. In order not to loose their information we keep them open and very quickly results end up with a cluttered workspace. This is the problem Workona solves by grouping open tabs into projects.
Use cases for the Workona Chrome Extension
1. Organise open Chrome tabs into different spaces. This gives you separate sections that group all of the tabs that relate to a specific topic.
- Save all open tabs into a project specific space
- Close individual spaces (and all of their coordinating tabs) with the click of a button
- Reopen them just as you left them
2. Create targeted to-do lists. Each of your projects (i.e. set of tabs) can have its own to do list attached to it. I find it incredibly productive to group my to-do’s up by task, it makes big workloads a lot more manageable. If this really appeals to you, the to-do list feature has its own Chrome extension, that allows you to share the to-do’s among multiple people.
3. Sharing workspaces (i.e. tabs) and their attached tasks in your team. This creates a meaningful unified platform for bigger projects with multiple people.
3. Notion Web Clipper Chrome Extension
Notion is an app used for note taking and task management, similar to Obsidian, Endnote and many other platforms. All of these tools can be used as an all inclusive space for project management and not only for note-taking. If Obsidian is your platform of choice, tthe Effortless Note Taking Course will teach you how to supercharge your research with it. Notion is sometimes considered easier and more suitable for sharing your notes than Obsidian.
Use cases for the Notion Web Clipper
1. Clip (download) articles, posts, papers or media directly from a website, into a page of your choosing on your Notion account and start organizing information in your note system.
2. Annotate the page you’ve created and share it with anyone you’d like.
See here that the chosen webpage is taken and dowloaded directly into the Notion page of choice. This page will preserve links that take you back to the initial article.
This tool can very useful by creating a Notion workspace for a specific project and adding web clippings to it as needed. This keeps your notes and ideas from falling through the cracks.
4. Zotero Chrome Extension
Zotero is a web and app based tool used for organising and annotating academic papers. This Chrome extension is very easy to set up and provides a seamless way of collecting papers into a database.
To use it:
- Find a paper you want to read (The Zotero web extension automatically detects PDF’s)
- Click the Zotero icon to download and sort them directly to your personal Zotero workspace
- Go into your Zotero account to read/annotate your paper
This extension works with both the online and desktop Zotero versions. I find this very helpful in allowing me to manage large amounts of academic papers, especially with the Chrome extension prompting you to sort the papers before they disappear into your downloads folder. This way, the papers are ready for you when you go to read them.
Not a Zotero user?
- If Mendeley is your reference manager of choice, there is a similar extension that works just as well.
- If Papers is what you use, check out this tweet to see highlights of its best features.
- Paperpile is another reference manager to consider, especially since it integrates well with Obsidian.
Why use Chrome extensions for academic research?
An amazing perk of Chrome extensions that separates them from other tools is that as long as you login to your Chrome account, you can have the same workspace anywhere, from any device. This makes picking up a task where you left off a seamless process.
Also all information is automatically backed up online (to your google account) and there is a lot less chance of losing your work. No matter what your research entails, you will likely benefit from the free personal assistants that are Chrome extensions.
Google Scholar Chrome Extension to find papers with one click.
Workona to organize tabs into groups, link them with to-do lists and share with colleagues.
Notion Web Clipper to capture websites, media to Notion.
Zotero Connector to capture academic papers to Zotero.