Paid research tools free download

Free Alternatives to Paid Research Tools

If you are a researcher and think this post isn’t for you then you are wrong. You are going to use almost every software listed below and this will cost you a lot of money.

Sometimes, use of the software is mandatory and other times we use them just to make our effort more productive. In any case, spending a lot of money on paid research tools and software is not the wise option especially when you have free alternatives available.

10 Best Free Research Tools

In this post, we have gathered some nice alternatives to top paid research tools that are being in research or academia, either in lab or publishing.

LibreOffice – Free Alternative to Microsoft Office 365 Suite

Microsoft Office is the software you are going to use almost every day in the lab. Either to write your reports and assignments or to present your data to the supervisors.  Microsoft Office is a complete suite of amazing apps with tons of features.

Free Alternative of Microsoft Office
LibreOffice – Fee alternative of Microsoft Office

It’s a nightmare for a researcher if his/her office suite is not working, any app of it. The most common reason is we mostly install cracked or pirated copy of Microsoft Office on our computer.

LibreOffice is top alternative to Microsoft Office suite due to almost same features. It’s an Open Source project and hundreds of developers are contributing towards its development. LibreOffice includes following apps in its suite,

  • Write – Word-Processing tool like MS Office Word
  • Calc – Spreadsheet tool like MS Office Excel
  • ImpressPresentation tool like MS Office PowerPoint
  • Base – Database tool like MS Office Access
  • Draw – Drawing tools for 2D/3D diagrams and flowcharts
  • Math – Mathematical and Scientific formula tool
  • Charts – Create and embed various types of charts

Few Other alternatives to MS Office

  • OpenOffice – Open source alternative to MS Office.
  • Google Docs – Online browser based Office suite
  • Office Online – Microsoft’s online office tool with limited functionality but free

JabRef – Free Alternative to EndNote Citation Manager

In each paper, a researcher or writer has to deal with hundreds of citations in their papers. Adding, Organizing and writing in required format can be a real headache for anyone. Good citation manager must have following features

  • Import citation from every journal and research search engine.
  • Sort them into different libraries.
  • Make backup files of them that can be shared via cloud
  • Export those file in your word processing software.

EndNote is most favorite and famous citation manager software among the researchers due to the certain features or just because certain journals recommend it because it is developed by Thomson Reuters. But EndNote can cost you a lot of money and here we are discussing top alternatives to EndNote citation manager.

JabRef is our top participant. The file format used by JabRef is BibTeX, the standard LaTeX bibliography format. This makes it compatible with almost every journal and search engine.

This free alternative of EndNote can import various file formats including PubMed’ XML, EndNote, and OVID etc. This citation manager is very light weight due to being Java-based. This EndNote alternative is compatible with Linx and Mac OS X as well.

Few Other Alternatives to EndNote

  • Mendeley – Complete cloud-based reference management suite
  • Zotero – Utility to create, organize and share citations with free online space
  • Citethisforme – Quick-use browser based tool to create citations from journals, books, and websites.

GNU Octave – Free Alternative to MATLAB Suite by Mathworks

MATLAB is a mathematical software widely being used by almost in every field. From signal processing to designing models for genetics, everyone is crazy about this software. Unfortunately, complete package of this software cost a lot of money to its users so they are compelled to use pirated versions of this software.

Octave is a free alternative to MATLAB suite and distributed under GNU license. Some of the features in this free alternative to MATLAB you will be looking,

  • Multi platform supported including Mac, Windows, and BSD
  • Built-in plotting and visualizations tools
  • Ability to install more packages in it
  • Compatible with most MATLAB scripts

Few Other Alternatives to MATLAB

  • Scilab – Open Source alternative to MATLAB which supports all major platforms and very similar to Octave and MATLAB
  • Sage – Built on top of a variety of well-known Python-based scientific computing libraries, and its own language is syntactically similar to Python.

PSPP – Free Alternative to IBM SPSS Software

SPSS by IBM is an analytics tool for statisticians. But its use is not confined to them only. Every researcher dealing with some data have to deal with it to save time. It’s a more advanced and feature-rich form of Office Excel designed to perform statistical operations on data for analysis.

Not only you have to pay a huge amount of money while purchasing the activation for your SPSS but later on you need to pay again to renew your subscription and add advanced packages in your software suite.

PSPP comes as the best free alternative to SPSS distributed by GNU. It is very similar to the IBM SPSS software except for the following things,

  • It will not expire
  • No money needed to buy advanced features
  • Support for over 1 billion cases and variables
  • The capability to open, analyze and edit two or more data sets concurrently. They can also be merged, joined or concatenated.

While reading and reviewing the PSPP – a better version of paid SPSS, I found no reason to prefer SPSS over it.

FreeCAD – Free Alternative to AutoCAD software

Computer aided designing is a technology which helps us to make the models of real life objects either it’s a house or a car. Primarily architects are using it for designing different models. Different other sciences like aeronautics and even biology are also using it to make models of different components.

FreeCAD is a best free alternative to AutoCAD paid software. Some of its features are following,

  • Multi platform application
  • Full GUI
  • Command line interface also supported
  • Plugin/Module framework

If you want us to review any other alternative of the paid tool, please feel free to reach us via the comment section below. Your feedback will us to improve our future posts.

Most Annoying Thesis Mistakes that you need to avoid

My prestigious university allowed me to be a spectator during the external viva of their graduating students. As per tradition, this is conducted by a guest professor from some an other University. Professor was asking questions about their work and giving remarks and recommendations about the thesis.

There were few mistakes in the thesis which being repeated by almost every student. Mistakes were so common that can be neglected by any student or supervisor and influence the overall influence more than we think.

Most Common Mistakes in Thesis

Spelling Mistakes

hippopotamus in brain
Your ‘Hippopotamus’ needs fixation, said Dr. Duck

Grammatical mistakes, at this level, are somehow avoidable only if the sentence is making sense but not the spelling mistakes. Poorly spelled words have very bad impression on the document. Suppose, you are writing about the “3D conformation” of proteins and you write it “3D confirmation”. Sometimes a single mistake of spelling makes a completely different sense of the sentence.

There was a student while writing about the brain. He wrote ‘hippopotamus’ because he only remembered that the part of the brain that controlled the Pituitary Gland went something like that, and ‘hippopotamus’ was the closest word he could think of.

Binomial Nomenclature

This is one of the most basic norms of scientific norms. While talking to the Professor, he told me, “Scientific names always need to be written in italic, students don’t pay attention to it.” He added, “while writing any name of microbe or virus, don’t forget to mention the variant or strain especially if it is commercial.”

Harry potter - Wingardium Levisoa
Let me try Wingardium Leviosa

Have you seen Harry Potter? Great! Wrong format of scientific names can backfire on the impression of your whole text. Just like the wrong Spell on the person holding the magical wand. 

Overall formatting

Certain parts of the thesis like ‘Discussion’ requires intuition. You don’t know when the idea will come into your mind. You always keep their laptop at hand’s distance even during sleep. Most of the people don’t check the font they are writing with at a certain paragraph. Either it’s the recommended one or not. Be careful to use the only single font in your whole document recommended by the Institution or the supervisor. Be careful about the following things as well,

  • Font size
  • Font color
  • Letter Spacing
  • Page Spacing
  • Page Numbers
  • Headings
  • Heading numbers and bullet style

Citation Style

University mostly provides the citation style for the thesis. Students mostly avoid harmonizing the citation style and just copy paste it from the source website. This is not a good practice. Any experienced researcher can always tell you if you have used the same citation style in the thesis or not.

It’s better to read the complete guide to any specific citation style you are going to use instead of relying on the citation software only. Basics of APA Style. 

Device and Software names

If you used any device such PCR Thermocycler, you should not only mention the name of the company but also the model number of the device. Such as Biosystems Thermocycler D348. Same rule goes for the software as well. You must mention the release version number in your thesis.

Later on, if someone reports any bug in the software or machine of that specific version/model, the reader can understand your reading better. This will also help if someone, at the junior level, replicating your experiment.

Chemicals and Other Solutions

While mentioning some chemical used in any experimentation, don’t forget to mention the concentration and volume used. Not only this, also adds the manufacturer or supplier of the chemical used. If you are using any kit, such as PCR, also mention the component you used in your experiment along with the kit.

“Student mention the name of the kit used, but not they used from the kit, usually it’s not the everything that comes with the kit.” said the professor. Don’t forget to mention the rpm/voltages etc. of any device used.

Use of Images

Graphic content is always more attractive than the textual. But while writing scientific content, you need to be very careful about the images you use. Don’t use stock images, experts don’t endorse it.

“I like to see the result of your gel electrophoresis, not the device of gel electrophoresis. I have seen it already” said the professor to a student. So be careful, only adds the photos that are needed. Don’t try to increase the pile of sheets in your thesis by adding more photos.

If it’s some diagram, flowchart and schematic representation of any process. Try to make it on your own instead of downloading from Google Images. Read, Draw Plasmids in PowerPoint

Explain Images and Diagrams

Writing two lines of the caption under the image is not enough. Make sure you discuss the image in the paragraph as well. This approach will also help you to use the necessary images only.

Be careful to add the image after discussing it in the earlier paragraph. It’s not a good approach that your image is on page two and you are discussing it on somewhere page 3-4.

Use of Abbreviations

Restrict the use of abbreviations to frequently used words in your text. Too many abbreviations in your text will make it a bit difficult to understand. Don’t forget to add an extra page of abbreviations in thesis file.

Abbreviating scientific names is a very annoying approach. Write M. charantia instead of MC while shortening Momordica charantia.

Don’t split tables and flowcharts

Tables and flowcharts are a nice way to present your data. Try to have them on a separate page. Do not split the tables and flowcharts into multiple pages.

If there is too much data which needs to be added to the table, be creative and categorize. Make sure that it must be on a single page separate page.

Similarly in case of Flowcharts, simply it. Don’t add the general things in the flowchart. generally, you can add more data in the circular flowchart.

Full Page Paragraphs

This is the among the poorest format errors any person can commit. Paragraphs must not be more than 4-5 lines.

If you want the readers to read the content, then make the short paragraphs and short sentences as well. It’s a number one rule for good readability of content.

Thesis Review Checklist

This is a quick checklist to review your thesis for mistakes before submitting it.

  • Read the guidelines provided by the Institution, again.
  • Check Font Size/Color/Style
  • Page margins and letter spacing
  • Image captions
  • Volumes/Concentration etc.
  • Front page: Your registration Number, Name of Department/Institution, Name of Supervisor and Title of your thesis.
  • Data of the tables and Flowchart
  • Either the Document is print-friendly or not
  • Scientific names

What embarrassing mistake you commit in your thesis? Share with us anonymously in comment section and others.