Compiling a bibliography for a scientific research paper can be a long, tedious task if done by hand. I recently encountered a free computer application called BibMatic that makes this task really easy.
BibMatic was designed with the budding and not so budding academic in mind. Some of its features were conceived to address specifically the needs of academics.
You can find BibMatic at the LaTex Repository, CTAN.
Next, I will describe it and give a screen-shot of its user interface.
Suppose that you are an academic writing a paper for ArXiv. It used to be that the bibliography (bib) of your paper was supposed to list predominantly those papers that were directly relevant or overlapped significantly with your paper. That vestigial purpose of bibs is but a faint memory today. Nowadays, the real purpose of your bib is to list only the papers of your best friends (that includes you) and of the people that may in the future offer you a job. Overlapping papers be hanged.
Citing papers not written by you that overlap significantly with your paper is not recommended by most quantum computing thesis advisers. According to them, it is better not to mention those papers at all. Later on, if your omission comes to the public’s attention, you can claim that you didn’t know about that prior work when you wrote your paper, so you should get as much credit as prior workers. Either that, or you should get ALL the credit. You can achieve the latter effect by getting your friends to cite your paper and not the prior ones, so the prior work is slowly forgotten. Your friends can rest assured that you will extend the same courtesy to them if the opportunity arises at a future date.
- Select Your LaTex File:
Press this button and a new window will open allowing you to select from your computer drive the LaTex file for which you want to compile a bib.
- Brown List:
Insert into this list the names of people you desperately want to brown-nose by citing their work, even if their work has nothing to do with your paper. BibMatic will include in the bib all papers ever written by these people.
- Black List:
Insert into this list the names of people you hate, or the academic community frowns upon, and you consider too low on the totem pole to be capable of hurting you.
- Overlap Lower Bound(%):
Insert in here a number X between 1 and 100. Only papers with overlap greater than X will be included in the bib, unless, of course, the author is in the Brown List or Black List.
- Compile My Bib:
When you press this button, BibMatic will first generate from your LaTex paper a dictionary of words and phrases with their relative frequencies in your paper. Then BibMatic will interface with Google Scholar and the arXiv search engine to compile a bib for you.
A list of papers that overlap with your paper more than X% or were written by the authors in your Brown List, but were not written by the authors in your Black List. Next to each paper is a number indicating the percentage overlap with your paper . A handy Delete button next to each citation allows you to delete from the bib those papers that are too close to yours for comfort and those that you are plagiarizing.