Top 5 Reference XML Generation For Academic Publishers
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Top 5 Reference XML Generation For Academic Publishers

Shanu K
Shanu K


References are an indispensable part of any academic published work. But managing them is a tedious task.

Of course, publishers and editors do not need to do the initial reference handling and maintenance — that is taken care of by authors. However, checking references for mistakes or incorrect tagging, formatting to match styling changes, filling in incomplete references, adding in DOIs all generally fall under the purview of editors — these are time-consuming tasks when done manually. Bigger publishers have dedicated resources responsible for reference correction. However small and medium-sized publishers may not have that luxury — this blog post is for them.

There are several tools that help with managing and editing references as XML. This blog will give you a comparative overview of the most popular ones.

Feature Comparison

This comparison chart is a quick TLDR; view of this blog post. Please note that the comparison is primarily from the perspective of small and medium publishers and their needs. So, features related to gathering, storing and citing references are not included.


Barring SciSpace (Formerly Typeset), which is a complete platform for end-to-end typesetting for publishers and authors, all the tools listed above have been built solely for reference management. We’ll now delve into each of these tools in more detail.



SciSpace is an automated typesetting platform and automatic reference generation and correction is one of its many features.

SciSpace set’s reference auto-filling and correction feature is a result of its proprietary technology that uses machine learning to capture and analyze data from CrossRef and PubMed. SciSpace uses this dataset to complete missing components of references. If there are mistakes in references, the system automatically detects it and notifies the journal team to check the validity of that reference.

References can be downloaded alone or along with the automatically-formatted manuscript. Multiple formats are available for both.

SciSpace is inexpensive and a great asset for publishers whose needs it meets. The only other tool that shares the same feature set with respect to references, i.e. Edifix, can get prohibitively expensive for small and medium publishers.

If you want to try out Reference Conversion process quickly, check the following converters:
1. Convert References from MS-Word to JATS XML

2. Convert References from PDF file to JATS XML

3. Convert References from MS-Word to PubMed PMC XML



Edifix is primarily an enterprise-level tool, though it does have cheaper plans for authors and journals with fewer references to manage. Similar to SciSpace, references are auto-filled and mistakes flagged for further review.

It is an online solution, but for publishers looking to add Edifix to an already automated workflow, they have an API.

Edifix generated references can be exported as JATS XML, Medline, BibTeX, RIS, Word Doc or HTML.

Here’s what Edifix’s monthly pricing looks like:




Mendeley is a popular downloadable citation plugin that works with Word and LibreOffice. It is free to use, but charges based on the amount of storage used. It is used primarily by researchers for reference management and publishers using Mendeley can expect to do reference correction and tagging manually.

Features include:

  • Citation and bibliography generation. Numerous styles supported.
  • Note-taking and annotation. Document sharing and collaboration.
  • Quick import. Mendeley auto-captures author, title and publisher info from documents.
  • Data is stored on the cloud and can be accessed from the desktop, web or mobile app.



EndNote is another reference management software. This is a paid downloadable tool and newer upgrades are charged.

EndNote is preferred by many researchers for its automated reference updates, styling and collaborative library.

EndNote features as listed on their website.

The one-time steep cost (~$250) may be prohibitive for researchers, though publishers who see a need for these features could pencil it in.



An open-source downloadable software, Zotero is free for use and charges for storage like Mendeley does. It can save or retrieve publication data from any online source and PDF. It integrates with Word, LibreOffice and Google Docs allowing researchers to cite as they write.

It is valuable to researchers as a data collection tool, allowing them to define keywords for their research and Zotero will add articles matching that keyword to auto-updating collections. Zotero also warns researchers if they try to cite retracted papers — this can be a great feature for publishers as well.

On the whole, however, Zotero can seem pretty complex because it is open source and, therefore, has many advanced functionalities. To counter this complexity, they also have a free, simple web-based tool called ZoteroBib for creating bibliographies.

These are not the only reference management tools, of course. There are several more available for authors and publishers. Some of the other popular ones include RefWorks, PaperPile, EasyBib, Citavi, JabRef, etc. You can see a list of the popular reference management tools here: [G2 link]

However, features that publishers typically need are fulfilled only by SciSpace and Edifix — which are not reference ‘management’ tools in the true sense. If you are specifically looking for auto-filling, auto-correction and mistake detection in references, both products let you experience their software before making a decision.

Book a SciSpace Demo | Use Edifix Trial Version

Before you go,


If you found the above article interesting, the following blogs might also interest you.

  1. Top 4 MS-Word (Docx) to JATS XML Converters
  2. PDF to JATS XML Conversion — Why it’s important for an Academic Publisher
  3. JATS XML: Everything a Publisher Needs to Know