AI tools for researchers: Optimize your workflows with these research assistants
Research reading Research Writing SciSpace Copilot

AI tools for researchers: Optimize your workflows with these research assistants


The pressure to stay on top of your to-do list can be all too real for many researchers. There's no denying the fact that research activities take up an incredible amount of time, cognitive resources, and energy. From trying to locate information and compiling survey data to crunching numbers in spreadsheets, the grind is real. But you don't have to go it alone anymore, thanks to the power of AI and many AI powered online tools.

Whether you want to identify trends across large datasets, get explanations for scientific research papers, or need help with design, AI tools can give the assistance you need. Integrating artificial intelligence into your workflow gives you more time and headspace to focus on what really matters: the creative and analytical tasks that move the needle.

Let this comprehensive list of AI research assistants and AI tools for researchers be your guide. It should make it easier for you to sort through the multitude of options. Read on to find out how these AI tools can power up your research process.

1. SciSpace Copilot — AI research assistant that helps you understand scientific articles

1. SciSpace Copilot — AI research assistant that helps you read and understand scientific articles

SciSpace Copilot is our intuitive and interactive AI assistant that provides you with summaries, explanations, and answers as you read research papers. The AI assistant can help you read and comprehend text, math, and tables and provide contextual answers to your questions while you are reading research articles.

How does it help

  • Understand scientific literature in a language of your choice — converse with the AI assistant in 13 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German, and French.
  • Learn the math behind an academic paper without constantly switching windows and searching for information.
  • Get clarifications immediately, allowing you to continue reading without stopping to look for answers.
  • Turn lengthy text blocks and entire sections into easy-to-grasp summary paragraphs that can be consumed quickly.
  • Shortlist scientific literature & academic papers faster by going beyond abstracts and asking meaningful questions to evaluate their relevance.
  • Create notes manually or save Copilot responses as notes — another layer of annotation that you can always come back to and refer to when needed.

You'll definitely love

Copilot is always available to help you find and understand academic papers. With over 270 million papers in our repository, you can use the AI research assistant to dive deeper into any of them anytime. Need insights on academic papers that are not in the repository? You can simply upload PDFs or import files from your Zotero collection (reference management software) and gain clarity with the AI assistant's help.

Pricing: Our research paper repository and AI assistant are completely free so there is no hassle when it comes to academic writing or research.

2. System —  Uncover the connections between any two things in the world

System —  Uncover the connections between any two things in the world

System is a free and open public resource designed to help you understand how anything and everything in the world is connected to each other. Researchers can use it to develop systems thinking and track and analyze relationships between different topics and other global systems.

How does it help?

  • Understand the complex relationships between different elements of a system.
  • Use the platform's large-scale graph database to access, enrich, normalize, resolve and store metadata about related topics.
  • Gather statistical evidence from peer-reviewed scientific papers and open data.
  • Search and retrieve related objects through open standards.

You'll definitely love  

System helps you develop a holistic approach to research. You can visualize how different topics are connected and the strength and significance of their statistical associations to one another in the highest possible resolution, allowing you to chart the course of your study more effectively.

Pricing: Free to use.

3. Elicit — Get answers to research questions without searching through hundreds of papers

Elicit — Get answers to research questions

Elicit  is another platform in our AI tools list that helps with your literature search and review process. Have a question on a topic? You can simply search for the same, and the application will find relevant papers and research documents and summarize observations from those papers pertaining to your query. It saves you the time spent evaluating the relevancy of an article.

How does it help

  • Get a comprehensive list of publications that are related to your question in minutes.
  • Gain insights into the datasets used and outcomes measured by different authors.
  • Customize what you see about each paper and organize them by this information.
  • Filter based on study type to hone in on the type of study you’re looking for.
  • Save the time and effort required to find, locate, and analyze information from each paper.

You'll definitely love

Once you enter a query, the application generates a quick summary based on observations from top papers. This is a great way to get a fast and accurate understanding while maintaining the quality of your sources.

Pricing: Free to use.

4. Lex — AI-powered text editor to articulate faster and smarter

Lex — AI-powered text editor to articulate faster and smarter

Lex is a word processor like Google Docs but interactive and AI-powered. It is trained on data only till June 2021, but it learns from the text you add and uses it to generate new content. Academic and technical writing can be mentally draining, and Lex can take some of the load off you. This AI-powered writing assistant helps you focus on sharing your research findings rather than stressing about technical and scientific writing.

How does it help:

  • Track and compare your input and AI-generated text side-by-side to ensure you add only quality and consistent portions.
  • Neatly store and organize your documents in folders.
  • Save time by getting AI to format your text with simple prompts, including references, header tags, tables, and bulleted lists.
  • Clarify minor queries quickly while writing using the Ask Lex feature so you don't have to leave the page.
  • Use specific prompts to auto-generate relevant and accurate content, making it easier to complete mundane writing tasks.

You'll definitely love

Since AI learns as you write, the output improves as you add more context. So, if you can quickly jot your thoughts and observations on the page, the AI can help make it more coherent and presentable.

Pricing: Free to use, but there is a waitlist.

5. Writefull X — Polish your writing to make it more sophisticated and scholarly

Writefull X is an AI-powered writing application that exclusively caters to academia and scientific research. It has multiple widgets that help with academic writing: title generator, abstract generator, paraphraser, and another one that rewrites your input in academic language. This way, you don’t have to worry about looking for the correct phrases or colloquialisms creeping into your writing.

How does it help:

  • Quickly and accurately find words, phrases, and even entire paragraphs to substitute your own in your scientific writing.
  • Generate titles and abstracts that are relevant to your topic.

You'll definitely love

The Academizer feature is convenient. It can quickly transform informal language into more scholarly language, allowing you to communicate your ideas faster.

Pricing: Free to use.

6. Excelformulabot — Master all the Excel skills you need quickly

Excelformulabot — Transform text instructions into spreadsheet formula

Analyzing data is a critical part of research work. And many researchers use spreadsheet tools like Excel and Google Sheets to compile, crunch, and analyze data. Excelformulabot simplifies certain aspects  of these workflows. It is an AI-powered tool that helps you quickly become proficient in these tools and also helps much in scientific research.  

How does it help

  • Understand what any formula does in plain language with its formula explainer
  • Save the time and effort spent translating formulas into different languages as it automatically does for you.
  • Use the feature directly inside your file with its Google Spreadsheet and Microsoft plugins.
  • Receive detailed instructions on how to execute critical tasks, allowing you to get things done faster.
  • Create VBA and regex using text instructions or have them explained to you.

You'll definitely love

ExcelFormulaBot quickly turns your text instructions into a spreadsheet formula. This way, even if you are not a spreadsheet expert, you can crunch and analyze the numbers precisely the way you want.

Pricing: Free for up to five formula requests each month. The paid plan starts at $2.99 and comes with unlimited formula requests.

7. GitHub Copilot — AI coding partner that provides code and full-function suggestions

GitHub Copilot — AI coding partner that provides code and full function suggestions

GitHub Copilot is a great tool for researchers working on projects that requires coding. It functions like your helpful AI pair programmer that gives you suggestions as you code. It's like autocomplete but better. Instead of suggesting code snippets, GitHub Copilot gives you smart suggestions based on the code you're writing to help you finish tasks faster.

How does it help

  • Allows researchers to focus on the research project and spend less time creating boilerplate or repetitive code
  • Provides AI-based suggestions specific to the project's context, style, and conventions
  • Integrates directly into popular editors, including Neovim, JetBrains IDEs, Visual Studio, and Visual Studio Code

You'll definitely love

As a researcher, you'll have to often venture beyond your comfort zone and learn as you go. GitHub Copilot helps you in this journey; it offers code and syntax suggestions in various languages. This way, you can save time and focus on learning by implementing new coding ideas, experimenting with different approaches, and exploring new concepts.

Pricing: Free for verified students, teachers, and maintainers of popular open-source projects on GitHub. The paid plans start at $10/month.

8. AI Data Sidekick – Speed up your SQL workflows with AI-powered recipes

Data Sidekick can simplify your SQL-related tasks. Using AI and context from your data warehouse, the tool helps you write SQL, update documentation, and explain complex concepts faster and more accurately. This way, you can reduce the time spent on data workflows required in your research.

How does it help

  • Use AI-powered recipes to speed up repetitive, time-consuming data tasks.
  • Identify questions you can answer from any database table.
  • Auto-document table schemas and generate python scripts and dbt YAML file.
  • Optimize queries to improve speed and reduce data bills.
  • Use Sidekick anywhere – IDEs, BI tools, consoles, browsers, and even via APIs.

You'll definitely love

Convert natural language to SQL queries, saving you time and energy from manually writing and fixing queries. Also, you no longer have to worry about syntax or having to Google the right formula.

Pricing: Free for personal use and small teams.

9. Vizcom AI — Produce high-quality outputs of your drawings as you draw

Vizcom AI — Produce high-quality outputs of your drawings as you draw

Vizcom is a unique drawing application that uses AI to create high-quality renderings of your sketches and drawings. As a researcher, you can use the application to define your ideas and imagination more clearly and make it media rich research. This way, you can better communicate what you’re working on in manuscripts and presentations.

How does it help

  • Use text prompts to adjust images so you can get the output you’re looking for.
  • Make your sketches more vibrant and detailed with 3D painting.
  • Share your files and collaborate on them with your team and other people from your institution.
  • Get the high-definition output of your drawings as the tool supports 4K exporting.

You'll definitely love

With Vizcom AI, you can instantly bring your drawings to life. The tool supports live rendering, allowing you to generate 3D versions of your sketches as you draw or easily import an existing sketch and edit it in 3D.

Pricing: Free options are available.

Final thoughts

This is not an exhaustive list by any means. There are hundreds of new AI-related applications released each month. With AI R&D labs like OpenAI and DeepMind taking huge strides in the field and venturing into competitive programming, map protein structures, speech recognition, and others, these numbers are only bound to grow.

While recognizing these advancements, it is also essential to look at the potential ethical issues and concerns associated with AI tools. Such as the replication of human biases, propagation of misinformation, and omission of critical data. The research community and key stakeholders must work together to ensure that we build and use these tools responsibly.

Fortunately, the field is progressing rapidly, and the accuracy of AI models is only set to improve. Nevertheless, it's always wise to double-check any results or recommendations produced by AI before relying on them.