My question (Any way to sync my Papers 2 library to my newer iPad?) was closed as off-topic today. To be honest, I hesitated before posting it because it felt not quite like an exact fit for this SE site. However, when I saw that there were tags for both [reference-managers] and [technology] I felt reassured, and went ahead with the post.

Let's face it, managing references is an indisputable part of academic life. Anyone who works in academia has probably had the experience of misplacing a research paper they later want to cite, or misremembering where they saw it ("Let's see, was it Blovenstein & Cobbler in Journal of Widgets, or was it Cobbler, Blovenstein et al in Annals of Widget Research?") Solving this problem is both part of the job and an information-management problem for which a number of technological solutions are available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. My situation is that I had a method that worked well until recently, but now seems to be reaching its end-of-life. Is it really off-topic to ask for advice on how to manage this, or to see if anybody else has been in a similar situation and found a workable solution?


2 Answers 2


This is quite a borderline question to me. Its definitely more of a software reference question, and honestly should just go on the Papers 2 support site. That said, this is clearly an academic issue, relevant to other academics. I'm in favor of reopening.

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    Looking at the open questions that we have e.g. about Mendeley or Zotero, I'd say that there are several ones which can be considered similar. I suspect that the closure had been driven mostly by the fact that that reference manager is a lesser-known one. I'm thus in favour of reopening too. Nov 20, 2020 at 9:35
  • @MassimoOrtolano I can sort of agree with the technical argument here, but I think the more fundamental question is if we shouldn't phase out all these "reference manager" questions in one way or another. These really don't feel in spirit of the site, and frankly it's not like these questions tend to get very satisfying answers.
    – xLeitix
    Nov 30, 2020 at 13:40
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    @xLeitix I have no preference one way or another. I'm generally in favour of being as flexible as possible for what concerns the scope of this site, to be useful to as many users as possible, but I agree with you that such kind of questions get mixed-quality answers. As a mod, though, what I would like to see is a uniform treatment of questions belonging to this same class, regardless of the specific reference manager (this is valid in general also for other types of questions). If I see that there are several other technical questions which are open, I consider unfair singling out this one. Nov 30, 2020 at 14:08
  • @xLeitix - Worth mentioning that a week plus change later the question still has no answers. While its relevant, I don't think that these questions are simply what this site is either looking for or able to answer.
    – eykanal
    Nov 30, 2020 at 14:19
  • @mweiss I've found Academia Stack Exchange to be the most pedantic and heavily moderated forums on these sorts of topics. Personally, I think the elimination of "subjective" questions is frustrating, while others seem to prefer it to keep out the riffraff. I would personally recommend reddit.com/r/askacademia as a more democratic space. That said, what is your take on Papers software? I'm intrigued by its capacity to integrate search, annotation, and citation, but am reticent to shell out $60/year. Dec 17, 2020 at 18:39

Sorry, but the question is a purely technical one. I'd vote to close (again) but the system won't let me. There are other places for this sort of question.

The application isn't the heart of the question. It is about syncing devices.


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