Request for "limited" Paperpile use without extension

I love Paperpile. I’m a PhD student who’s been using it for the last two years with amazing success because it does all the things I would want it to do.

But I keep running into one very frustrating problem: I work with data at a governmental institution where we have some (understandable) restrictions on software, meaning that I’m disallowed from installing the Paperpile extension.

That makes my current workflow is really problematic when I start writing! I use Paperpile on my own laptop using the extension, but then in order to use my bibliography, I have to download it and email it to myself. If it were always a one-time process, it’d be fine, but there’s always something I didn’t add correctly or the exported format doesn’t play nicely with my bibTeX package. It also makes adding papers at later points a HUGE pain. I find myself weighing whether it’s worth it to add in the newest research given all the hassle, which I don’t think is great.

I understand the necessity of the extension for the functionality of Paperpile. It’s fantastic. But I really should be able to log in without having the extension if all I want to do is export my bibliography, shouldn’t I?

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Thanks for the feedback, Danielle. Versions of this request have come up before; I understand it’s not a direction we’re planning to take at the moment but no idea is off the table either.

Our product is first and foremost a Chrome extension. From that base we’re expanding to mobile apps and a Word plugin (betas available, no writing feature on mobile, you can reach out to us via chat or email to join if you like) but we’re still very much reliant on the extension itself.

Our decisions are guided by user demand, so I’ve added your +1 to the topic on our internal tracker for the team to consider over future reviews. Please don’t hesitate to reach out again if there’s anything else. Cheers!

A very delayed suggestion, @Danielle_McCool - a potential workaround / partial solution for your writing workflow could be using BibGuru, an online citation/bibliography generator we recently released which might not be restricted on your institutional computer.

You could export the bibliography from the document, import it to where you can still tweak / adjust / add and later export as bibTeX if needed. This won’t sync to your Paperpile account, but perhaps it could simplify your workflow. Let me know what you think!

An update following from the new automated bibTeX export functionality – this is now (almost) a non-issue. I would still like to be able to see my lists of references without the browser plugin (even if I couldn’t open them) but having the automated export allows me to sync the really critical bits without it.

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Thanks for the update, @Danielle_McCool! We should have some news on this front soon - rewrites of the extension and web app are in the works. There will be more details in our newsletter, coming this fall :crossed_fingers:t4: