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Referencing & Plagiarism: RefWorks


RefWorks describes itself as “a web-based reference management service that allows you to import references from online databases and other sources. You can use these references in writing papers and automatically format the paper and the bibliography in seconds.” Generally, if offers similar functionality to other Reference Management Software, including de-duplication, attaching full-text in pdf format, annotation, etc. It’s RefWorks Citation Manager (RCM) plug-in for Word is particularly straightforward. Its greatest downside is that, being web-based, it is at the mercy of a poor connection.

RefWorks is a Proquest product, which UoS staff and students have free access to through the library. A link can be found here, or you can just google it. To register an account you must use your university email address e.g.,, or your ‘named’ email address. e.g.,. This allows the software to recognise you as a registered student and provides free access. You can use any password.

Please note that Refworks will not recognise an S-number and named email as being the same person/account so if you forget your password and have to reset it, be sure to use the email address you originally used.

Brief Overview

RefWorks’ default view is a central screen where you can see your collection, with folders visible down the left-hand side. If you click on any single item, the metadata pane opens on the right, with edit options.

Much like EndNote, many database and journal providers offer direct export to RefWorks (all the Proquest ones do obviously); those that don’t will have a general citation data export option (e.g., for .RIS packages).  Additionally, a PDF can be dragged and dropped into the centre of the collections pane – it highlights blue when it registers this – and it will then generate a reference from the source. RefWorks has a browser plug in which scrapes websites for bibliographical data. Finally, there is the option to manually input the reference data.

As with other Referencing Management Systems, RefWorks can output a text bibliography and/or in-text citation to be pasted into a document, and also has a plug-in for Word, which can be found, if it doesn’t install automatically, by clicking on the Insert Tab, choosing Get Add-ins, and then searching for RefWorks. Once installed you must log in to it, and thereafter it is very intuitive to use, and provides the same functionality as Zotero’s and EndNote’s Word plug-ins.

Sharing folders is managed through the sharing option in the left pane; you can share with only invited people or anyone at the institution, and also generate a public URL. Access privileges are also set from the sharing dialogue. Individual items can be downloaded in standard software packages (.RIS, BibTeX, XML etc.) for exporting.