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I’m a user of Mekentosj’s Papers 2. They’ve just released Papers 3.

It’s currently “beta” and they want you to pay $79 for this beta version. There is a 30 day demo. I just spend about two or three hours demoing it.

In that two hours I have just filed about seven support items against it. Three of them are data corruption issues relating to importing the Papers 2 library, although thankfully, the Papers 2 library files remain uncorrupted and it’s just the new Papers 3 library that is junk. I get:

  • blank authors on some items
  • these blank authors are not deletable
  • book chapters do not import correctly (book title in “subtitle” field)
  • most of my periodicals are missing from the periodical list even though the papers are in the database
  • when you do a search, it doesn’t ask you for the ezproxy password if ezproxy is configured and just gives you no results instead

This is just what I found in three hours. I did not try actual citations or exporting the data into .bib files but given what I’ve seen so far I would not be very confident of success. Do not buy this program until they can report these issues fixed. This is quite apart from the fact that there are outstanding Papers 2 issues, like the fact that my iOS/iPad database incorrectly swaps authors names on the iOS data when imported. Oh look, an unfixed database corruption issue! What chance of Papers 3 being fixed? I rate this as none. Papers is a “data corruption ‘r’ us” special. For an application where data reliability is the key indicator of quality (research database!), this is very, very, poor quality, indeed, an amateurish effort. The company is focussed on making a pretty interface and churning major versions without fixing critical data reliability bugs.

This is a massive fail. 0.5 stars of 5.

If only Mendeley Desktop could search the online databases directly! Despite that limitation I am thinking about switching off Papers 2 onto Mendeley forthwith.

UPDATE: see my comparative review of Mendeley and Papers