Mendeley Citations Plugin

As someone in academia I would really like support for Mendeley. Both for the automatic citations and bibliography management. For those unfamiliar Mendeley is a citation manager and library. You add papers and other sources to your Mendeley Library, which syncs across your devices. So that when you are writing and you use a source, the Mendeley plugin can automatically generate your citations for the source in the style you want. And when you’re finished it will also automatically generate the bibliography for your paper as well. Personally it’s an invaluable tool for me and I would like for something similar to be in Obsidian.

Ideally, I would be able to pull a quote or a figure from a paper in my Mendeley library and have the proper citation automatically show up in that note. Ideally it would create a bibliography for the whole vault but if it was per note than it would still be amazing.


I’d like this too, like pandoc citeproc.

  • in the plugin settings, set the path to the .bib file
  • In edit mode, I’d like to add [@DunningKruger1999].
  • In preview mode, I’d like to see the citations at the bottom of the page (or maybe there could be a {{citation}} thing.

(at a later stage, the paper may be a node in the graph, too, and the citation clickable to the bibliography manager, etc but that’s excessive luxury).

In Mendeley, there’s a setting to auto-export the .bib file whenever anything changes, so this would be fully integrated.

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After learning more, I think there are two distinct features here:

  • a workflow reference, as tallguyjenks uses here:
    This is a deep link to a note on a specific paragraph in the pdf of a paper, using Zotero.
    This requires integration with other tools - auto-generating the export etc, and is somewhat out of the scope of Obsidian itself because it’s hard to make other tools do stuff for you. Probably out of scope.
    But for this ability to deep link into cited materials and annotations, Zotero seems to be vastly superior to Mendeley.
  • a citation generator that uses a bib file to make APA or MLA type citation strings in the preview pane for publishable papers, or to copy into emails that I send to other people. And that checks if the reference link is actually available.

I’m really new to Obsidian so I just discovered that there a built in method to do footnotes. So for myself I’m just going to use those and DOI’s for the time being. And then if I export to word I can use Mendeley to generate the bibliography for me, without too much fuss.

For myself I have found that Mendeley is the superior option though I’m not entirely sure the differences. Assuming their equally as accurate when it comes the citations. The big things for me though are Mendeley is completely free and has essentially unlimited storage. Its 2gb vs the 300mb of Zotero, but because Mendeley is created and managed by Elesvier it has some key advantages. First articles from Elesvier don’t use any of my cloud storage as they are freely available to Mendeley, which gives me near unlimited storage. But also this gets me pdfs that I might not otherwise have access to, which for me save me such a huge amount of time.

I found you don’t need to do the cloud storage really. So it’s unlimited storage locally.

I do like the (@miller93) format a lot because it allows me to cut and paste snippets together into papers that have the citations correctly at the bottom - without mistakes.

I also like to copy/paste little snippets with proper citations, and I don’t want to do it by hand. Laziness is the mother of all chickens or something.

This was very useful:

This was done before Obsidian came out: and it’s kind of nice.

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+1 on the Mendeley bibtex integration. One might consider reference, bibliography, and citation management core functionality. Is Mendeley integration on any release schedule?


I moved over to Zotero, and it works quite nicely with the Obsidian plugin.
Also, you can deep link to a page:
[Book](zotero://open-pdf/library/items/BQZK4T5F?page=120) which is nice.

Hi, I am using Mendeley for my research as well and I started using Obsidian beginning of this year to take note. I find it much more convenient than having multiple word documents or other apps opened to take notes.

I have 2 questions for you:

  1. Is it possible to connect Zotero to my Mendeley’s library?
  2. A more personnal one, how do you organize yourself with Obsidian for literature review? I struggle to find a proper workflow that will ensure me to still be organized once I have a lot of notes after some time.

Many thanks!

The “problem” with Zotero is $$$$. Mendeley has a 2Gb limit for free use, Zotero just 300 Mb.

I have used Mendeley for years and still not in need of paid storage. I tried Zotero (for purposes of compatibility with Obsidian) and after migrating my Mendeley references to it I was already needing paid storage for sync.

I won’t talk about how vastly superior I feel Mendeley to be compared to Zotero, because that might be a consequence of me using Mendeley for years. But in order to use my references easily in Obsidian, I’d need to contantly migrate my Mendeley docs to Zotero and then use the plugin to integrate that información into Obsidian. Waaaaay too much hassle.

The only issue I have with Mendeley is that it is owned by Elsevier, and they are… not exactly liked. They are certainly not the only ones, but E. has a habit of charging aggressive prices for access on both the author’s and reader’s end, and publicly oppose services like libgen and Sci-Hub (f.e. by filing lawsuits). These services are often the only means of accessing necessary scientific knowledge for scientists and especially students, and satisfy the issue at hand. Same goes for other methods like #ICanHazPDF.

I think given that mendeley is being retired by Elsevier we should retire this idea too

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I know they’re retiring Mendeley Desktop but I haven’t heard about them scrapping the Reference Manager as well. Has this been announced?

I only know from friends who were employed there that the current understanding is that it will be wound down