Top AI Tools for Academic Researchers

May 25, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Like it or not, AI is reshaping academia. Setting aside the thorny issue of cheating, we see the technology is also changing how academic research is performed. In fact, there are already many AI options for researchers to pick from. Euronews narrows down the choices in, “The Best AI Tools to Power your Academic Research.” Writer Camille Bello shares the top five options as chosen by Mushtaq Bilal, a researcher at the University of Southern Denmark. She introduces the list with an important caveat: one must approach these tools carefully for accurate results. She writes:

“[Bilal] believes that if used thoughtfully, AI language models could help democratise education and even give way to more knowledge. Many experts have pointed out that the accuracy and quality of the output produced by language models such as ChatGPT are not trustworthy. The generated text can sometimes be biased, limited or inaccurate. But Bilal says that understanding those limitations, paired with the right approach, can make language models ‘do a lot of quality labour for you,’ notably for academia.

Incremental prompting to create a ‘structure’

To create an academia-worthy structure, Bilal says it is fundamental to master incremental prompting, a technique traditionally used in behavioural therapy and special education. It involves breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps and providing prompts or cues to help the individual complete each one successfully. The prompts then gradually become more complicated. In behavioural therapy, incremental prompting allows individuals to build their sense of confidence. In language models, it allows for ‘way more sophisticated answers’. In a Twitter thread, Bilal showed how he managed to get ChatGPT to provide a ‘brilliant outline’ for a journal article using incremental prompting.”

See the write-up for this example of incremental prompting as well as a description of each entry on the list. The tools include: Consensus,,, Research Rabbit, and ChatPDF. The write-up concludes with a quote from Bill Gates, who asserts AI is destined to be as fundamental “as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the Internet, and the mobile phone.” Researchers may do well to embrace the technology sooner rather than later.

Cynthia Murrell, May 25, 2023


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