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Tools and Apps to become an Effortless Academic

Here you will find a selection of tools I believe in and tried out myself. By using these discount codes I earn a small commission, which helps me pay the bills and run Effortless Academic.

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The “second brain” note-taking app

This app is essential for an organised note-taking system, and it can be easily integrated as a key tool in a larger workflow.

Obsidian is perfect for note-taking and organisation, as well as everyday administrative tasks.

What makes it unique: Obsidian is extremely customisable and had 100’s of plugins, making it a great tool to be used as a personal base for your research.

AND it allows you to display your notes and the connections between then in a mind-map format.

Researcher App

Curated feed of the latest publications in your field.

Researcher app creates a news-feed style publication list based on your preferences.

Select your favourite journals and topics and you’ll automatically be updated with the most current publications.

Perfect for: The researcher that wants to keep up to date with the latest publications on the go.

A literature review orgainser.

With Lateral, you can have multiple papers open in one place. In the same space, you can store and combine snippets of different papers to help summarise your findings.

Lateral will help to both take relevant notes and summarise them for a literature review.

A great sidekick to a wider literature review workflow.

Instant mind-map based off of one paper.

Iris automatically categorises the most relevant papers related to a chosen key paper. It then clearly displays them and allows you to pick the most relevant sub-topics.

A great way to level up your search for papers and broaden your search.

What makes it special: Iris searches based on context, not citations, meaning you get a broader search than other similar apps.


Create an AI powered table of research most relevant to you.

Elicit Promo Code:

Sign up using this link to receive 5000 credits.

Elicit is an AI search tool that pulls from the large academic database semantic scholar, meaning it covers all disciplines and will access full-articles (not just abstracts) when available.

This tool is a great side-kick to help guide your research and help you organise and manage all of the research information out there.

New feature: Audemic will soon be releasing a feature that will summarise papers into bullet points and plain language summaries.

An AI search engine for academics.

Consensus Promo Code:

30% off code: Effortless30

Type in your plain-text research question and you’ll receive: an answer based on a summary of up to 20 of the most relevant papers. This way you know exactly where the answer is coming from.

What makes it unique: Consensus fact checks itself, so you won’t be getting made-up or dramatised information.

Consensus is a great tool for taking the first steps towards a thorough literature review.


Find the papers most applicable to your research question.

Scispace Promo Code:

20% off monthly code: “Effortless20
40% off yearly code: “Effortless40

A smart way to begin your literature review, Scispace provides you with a network of connected papers, curated specifically for you.

Scispace allows you to sort through 100s of papers in minutes. All you have to do is ask your plain-text research question, and you’ll be presented a table with all of the main summary points of each relevant paper. Here is a deep dive into every of Scispace’s features.

The best feature: You can use the integrated AI to chat with a specific academic paper.


An academia specific AI writing tool.

Paperpal Promo Code:

30% off all plans code: ILYAPRIME30

Paperpal provides real-time suggestions to help improve your writing. It corrects:

  • translation: produce more accurate context-specific translations
  • grammar and vocabulary: elevate your writing with more appropiate academic vocabulary
  • consistency: create seamless writing by having consistent tone and voice throughout

Check out the deep dive article for all features. Paperpal is perfect for polishing your writing and the best part, it’s trained specifically on academic papers.


A powerful tool that utilises AI to find and summarise research papers.

Sourcely allows you to paste key words into a browser-style software that then quickly displays the most relevant sources. You can then filter out the publications by factors such as date and citations.

Features: “Sourcely summaries” creates an easy to digest summary next to each paper, allowing you to quickly decide which publications are the most relevant to you.


A foundational tool for an in-depth literature review.

Litmaps Promo Code:


What I love about it: It displays papers in a graph. X axis: Date. Y axis: Citations. Because older papers get cited more I usually have a correlation and papers tend to be sitting close to a diagonal.

But look right and up from the diagonal and you will immediately DISCOVER the papers that have many citations AND are recent.

Litmaps is a stellar tool to find gaps in the literature and the central tool in my Literature Review Course.

Analyze how publications relate to each other.

Scite Promo Code:


Scite allows you to break down citations into 3 categories:

  • Supporting: If another paper validates the findings.
  • Contrasting: If another paper refutes/cotnradicts the findings.
  • Mentioning: e.g. as part of the introduction.

This allows you to identify controversial papers and quickly understand how the fit into the field.

Scite Assistant on the other hand is like a ChatGPT for academics.

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