The best AI tools for academic research

Increasingly, AI tools are proving to be invaluable assets within academic research, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of work. This article explores how AI is being integrated into academic research, transforming traditional methodologies and paving the way for innovative discoveries.

How AI can assist in academic research

Data analysis and management

  • Enhanced data processing: AI algorithms can process and analyse large datasets more quickly and accurately than traditional methods, facilitating research in fields like genetics, climatology, and social sciences.
  • Pattern recognition: AI’s ability to identify patterns and trends within data sets is invaluable for research areas like epidemiology and market analysis.

Research design and hypothesis testing

  • Predictive modelling: AI can predict outcomes based on available data, aiding researchers in formulating hypotheses and designing experiments.
  • Simulation and modelling: AI-driven simulations allow researchers to test hypotheses in a virtual environment, saving time and resources.

Literature review and analysis

  • Automated literature searches: AI tools can scan through thousands of documents, identifying relevant literature more efficiently than manual searches.
  • Content analysis: AI algorithms are capable of analysing text for content, sentiment, and trends, streamlining the review process.

Collaboration and communication

  • Enhanced collaboration: AI-powered platforms can facilitate collaboration between researchers, overcoming geographical and disciplinary barriers.
  • Language translation: AI-driven translation tools enable researchers to access and collaborate on global research papers without language constraints.

Ethical considerations and bias reduction

  • Identifying biases: AI can help in identifying and mitigating biases in research design and data analysis.
  • Ethical research practices: AI tools can assist in ensuring that research practices comply with ethical standards, particularly in data handling and privacy.

The best AI tools for academic research

Here’s a quick look into some of the better AI tools for academic research available.


Consensus could be mistaken for any other search engine at a glance, but instead, it’s like Google Scholar had its own AI chatbot. In essence, the tool will scalpel the internet with AI for insights into research papers regarding a given question.

Perhaps you’re doing a project on how quantum might affect future electronics engineering and need cited content to back up your claims, or just have a curiosity itch that needs scratching – either way, Consensus is the tool for you. You can find Consensus here.


Elicit, described by its creators as an “AI research assistant,” leverages language models to respond to queries. However, its expertise is exclusively rooted in research, facilitating “intelligent conversations” and brainstorming sessions with a highly informed and validated source.

Moreover, the software possesses the capability to identify pertinent research papers, even in the absence of exact keyword matches. It can succinctly summarise these documents and distil crucial information from them.

An engineering student could utilise Elicit to efficiently gather and synthesise relevant research materials, aiding in the development of informed and robust designs or solutions for their academic projects. You can find Elicit here.

Research Rabbit

Termed “the Spotify of research” by its creators, Research Rabbit offers a feature where users can add academic papers to “collections”. This function enables the software to understand the user’s research interests, subsequently suggesting new, pertinent academic material.

Additionally, Research Rabbit provides a visual representation of academic networks and co-authorships through graphs. This feature aids users in tracking the progress of specific topics or authors, allowing for a more in-depth exploration of their research areas.

Engineering students can leverage Research Rabbit to curate personalised collections of academic papers, enabling them to efficiently track developments and collaborations in their specific field of study and deepen their understanding of complex engineering topics. You can find Research Rabbit here.

Language models like ChatGPT, despite not being intentionally deceitful, have been known to produce text that may not always be factually accurate and can include references to non-existent papers. However, Scite, an AI-powered application, stands out by providing genuine citations to published papers. Like Elicit, when posed with a question, Scite responds with answers accompanied by a comprehensive list of all the papers cited.

Engineering students can use Scite to validate the reliability of information and references they encounter in their research, ensuring that their academic work is grounded in verified and credible sources. You can find here.


ChatPDF, an AI-powered application, simplifies and accelerates the process of reading and analysing journal articles. Users begin by uploading a research paper in PDF format into the AI system, followed by posing various questions to it. The app then generates a concise summary of the paper and offers suggestions for questions it can answer, drawing on the content of the entire article.

For engineering students, ChatPDF can be a valuable tool for quickly understanding complex research papers, enabling them to efficiently extract key information and insights relevant to their studies or projects. You can find ChatPDF here.

Final notes

The integration of AI tools in academic research is not just enhancing traditional research methods; it’s also opening new avenues for discovery and innovation. From data analysis to collaborative networks, AI is becoming an indispensable part of the academic research toolkit. As AI technology continues to evolve, its potential to transform research practices and drive academic progress becomes increasingly evident.