LitDB – Keeping Track of Research Papers From Your Institute Made Simple.


Jörn Bethune, Lars Kraemer, Ingo Thomsen, Andreas Keller, David Ellinghaus, Andre Franke

Year of publication



Source Code Biol Med







Impact factor



In science peer-reviewed publications serve as an important indicator of scientific excellence and productivity. Therefore, every scientist and institution must carefully maintain and update records of their scientific publications. However, in most institutions and universities articles are often managed in a redundant file-based and non-central way. Whereas excellent reference management software packages such as Zotero, Endnote or Mendeley exist to manage bibliographies and references when writing scientific articles, we are not aware of any open source database solution keeping track of publication records from large scientific groups, entire institutions and/or universities.We here describe LitDB, a novel open source literature database solution for easy maintenance of publication lists assigned to various topics. In the last 2 years more than 50 users have been using LitDB at our research institute. The LitDB system is accessed via a web browser. Publications can be uploaded through direct exports from reference manager libraries or by entering PubMed IDs. Single users or user groups can track their citation counts, h-index and impact factor statistics and gain insights into the publication records of other users. It offers various visualization functions like coauthor networks and provides ways to organize publications from dedicated projects and user groups. The latter is in particular beneficial to manage publication lists of large research groups and research initiatives through a “crowd-sourcing” effort.Keeping track of papers authored and published by a research group, institute or university is an important and non-trivial task. By using a centralized web-based platform for publication management such as LitDB the compilation of project- and group-related publication lists becomes easily manageable and it is less likely that papers are forgotten along the way.