AI Tools To Automate Your Literature Review: Which To Use?

Researching and writing outa literature review can be a daunting task, but AI-powered tools like Semantic Scholar, Research Rabbit, and Scite are revolutionising this process.

These tools, leveraging artificial intelligence, automate the arduous task of sifting through mountains of academic papers, extracting key information, and summarizing relevant research.

In this article, lets explore how AI research assistants and advanced search engines streamline the literature review process, making it faster, more efficient, and thorough for conducting scientific research. Discover the best AI tools to transform your literature review work. 

AI ToolFeatures
Semantic Scholar– AI-powered search engine
– Contextual analysis of papers
– Advanced citation analysis
Research Rabbit– Mapping connections between papers
– Identifying key research areas
– Exploration of research topics
Scite– Smart Citations (supporting, contrasting, mentioning)
– Citation contexts with text excerpts
– Detailed citation metrics and analytics
Connected Papers– Visualise the research landscape
– Identify key papers and trends
– Explore paper interconnections
ChatGPT– Prompt-based research assistance
– Automated summarisation  
– Quick insights on complex topics

Why Use AI Tools To Write Literature Review?

The vast sea of academic papers can be daunting. This is where AI tools like ChatGPT, Semantic Scholar, and Research Rabbit become indispensable.

AI tools for literature review are adept at sifting through millions of papers across various databases like PubMed and Google Scholar. They use AI algorithms and natural language processing (NLP) to identify relevant research articles, providing a summary of key information.

Some AI-powered research assistant such as Scite, uses AI to scan through research data, offering insights into the supporting or contrasting evidence within peer-reviewed papers. This can be a valuable tool for finding specific details in a systematic literature review.

These tools also streamline the literature search by automating the process of citation and reference management. Tools like Connected Papers and Research Rabbit are adept at evaluating and summarizing relevant academic papers, saving you time and effort.

They can extract key information from PDF documents and research articles, making it fast and easy to organize your findings.

AI-powered tools for literature review also help in creating a thorough literature search, essential for:

  • Systematic literature reviews
  • Meta-analyses, and
  • Identifying research gap.

They can elicit information from a variety of sources, providing a comprehensive view of your research question. This approach ensures that your literature review is not only rich in content but also diverse in perspectives.

Best AI Tools To Write Literature Review

If you are looking at exploring AI tools to help you write literature review, consider these instead. They are revolutionizing the way literature reviews are conducted:

Connected Papers

As the name suggests, Connected Papers focuses on showing how various academic papers are interconnected. This generative AI tool helps you visualize the research landscape around your topic, making it easier to:

  • Identify key papers,
  • Identify potential gaps in your literature review, and
  • Understand emerging trends in scientific research.

ChatGPT

While not a traditional literature review tool, ChatGPT is revolutionising academic research by offering prompt-based assistance.

This chatbot-like AI tool can help automate parts of the literature review process, such as generating research questions or providing quick summaries of complex topics.

ChatGPT’s AI-driven insights can be a valuable starting point for deeper exploration into specific research areas. The key is to provide it with the right input, and then to give the right prompts.

Research Rabbit

This tool uses AI to scan a variety of sources, including peer-reviewed research data. It’s particularly useful for conducting systematic literature reviews, as it can evaluate and summarize relevant academic papers, highlighting supporting or contrasting evidence.

Its key features include mapping out connections between research papers, identifying key papers in a research area, and helping to understand how various research topics are interconnected.

Research Rabbit also excels in reference management, a vital component of academic writing.

Scite

Scite is an innovative tool that uses AI technologies to provide a new layer of insight into scientific literature.

It evaluates the credibility of research by analyzing citation contexts, helping you to identify the most impactful and relevant papers for your research question.

Scite’s most distinctive feature is its Smart Citations. Unlike traditional citations that merely count how often a paper is cited, Smart Citations provide context by showing how a paper has been cited. This means that for each citation, Scite shows you the other relevant papers that:

  • Supports,
  • Contrasts, or
  • Mentioning evidence for the claims made in the original paper. 

As a result, Scite is invaluable for conducting thorough literature reviews, especially for systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Semantic Scholar

This AI-powered research assistant stands out in its ability to sift through vast databases like PubMed and Google Scholar.

It uses advanced natural language processing (NLP) and AI algorithms to extract key information from millions of academic papers, offering concise summaries and identifying relevant research articles.

What sets Semantic Scholar apart is its AI algorithms. It analyses millions of academic publications, extracting key information such as:

  • Citations,
  • Figures, 
  • Tables, as well as 
  • Contextual relevance of each paper.

This enables the tool to provide highly relevant search results, summaries, and insights that are tailored to your specific interests and research needs.

What To Watch Out For When Writing Literature Review With AI Tools?

When you’re writing a literature review with AI tools, you’re stepping into a world where technology meets academic rigor. To ensure they balance each other out, by watching over these details as you use AI when researching:

Bias 

AI algorithms, including those used in literature search tools, can inherit biases from their training data.

This might skew the search results towards more popular or frequently cited papers, potentially overlooking lesser-known yet significant research.

Ensure you’re accessing a variety of sources to maintain a balanced perspective. When possible, always look into newer papers on your research area, as these may not have been discovered by your AI tool yet.

Citation Accuracy

While tools like Scite provide advanced citation analysis, the accuracy of AI in identifying and interpreting citations is not infallible.

Always verify the citations and references manually, especially when dealing with complex literature or less digitised sources.

You can also use multiple AI tools to check for citation accuracy. For example, rather than simply relying on Scite, you can also use other reference management softwares like: 

  • Mendeley,
  • Zotero,
  • Refworks, or
  • EndNote.

Contextual Understanding

AI tools, efficient as they are, might not fully grasp the nuanced context of your research question.

Tools like ChatGPT and Semantic Scholar provide summaries and identify relevant papers using natural language processing (NLP), but they may not always align perfectly with your specific research focus.

Always double-check that the AI’s interpretation matches your intended research angle. This means actually spending time to read articles within the research area, and become familiar with it. 

Depth of Analysis

AI tools can automate the initial stages of your literature review by quickly sifting through databases like PubMed and Google Scholar to find relevant papers.

However, they might not evaluate the depth and subtlety of arguments in academic writing as thoroughly as a human researcher would.

It’s crucial to supplement AI findings with your own detailed analysis. This means you should not rely on AI completely, but to actually roll up your sleeves and work on the analysis yourself as well.

Over-reliance on AI

There’s a temptation to overly rely on AI for streamlining every aspect of the literature review process.

Remember, AI is a tool to assist, not replace, your critical thinking and scholarly diligence.

Use AI to enhance your workflow but maintain an active role in evaluating and synthesising research data. See AI as a tool, not your replacement. You need to be there to pilot the AI tool, to ensure it is doing its job properly.

AI Tools For Literature Review: Keep Up With Times

Leveraging AI tools for your literature review is a game-changer. Tools like Semantic Scholar, Research Rabbit, and Scite, powered by advanced AI algorithms, not only automate the search for relevant papers but also provide critical summaries and evaluations.

They enhance the literature review process in academic research, making it more efficient and comprehensive.

As AI continues to evolve, these tools become indispensable for researchers, helping to streamline workflows, organize findings, and extract key insights from a vast array of scientific literature with unparalleled ease and speed.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.