May 03, 2024

Best Browsers for Academic Research

Written by Eleanor McKeown

Best Browsers for Academic Research

May 3, 2024 05:53 PM
Best Browsers for Academic Research - top browsers for academic researchers, including Horse Browser, Edge, Vivaldi
When it comes to academic research, choosing the right tech tools can make all the difference. There are countless specialised apps out there but an efficient web browser is the fundamental building block that many academic researchers overlook. The browser is where your research takes place, and for that reason, it acts as the very foundation of everything that you do.
So, as researchers and designers of our own browser, we’ve compiled a list of the very best browsers for academic research.

What is a browser for academic research?

We all know Google Chrome but more and more alternative web browsers are becoming available, each offering increasingly specialised features. Browsers for academic research are web browsers designed to help you search effectively, track your research, compare data, organise your references and assist your note taking.

Why is using an academic research browser so important?

The internet is an amazing resource for anyone working in academia. Catalogues, like Jstor, ResearchGate, WorldCat and Elsevier, and world-class historical archives are always available at the click of a mouse. Plus search engine tools like Google Scholar,, and BASE, all provide easy access to hundreds of millions of academic papers.
When you’re writing an academic paper or thesis, keeping track of your research, saving relevant pages and managing your references is vitally important. It’s all-too-easy to end up with a clutter of open tabs, messy downloads and poorly-organised, forgotten bookmarks. That’s why you need a browser designed for academic research.
And, despite all the benefits of accessing journals and source material online, the internet is also an incredibly distracting place, filled with visual clutter and annoying online ads. Browsers for academic research are focused on minimising distractions that help you keep your focus and get your research done.

Best browsers for academic research

Now you understand the importance of choosing the right research browser, let’s discuss the best options available to you. After careful review, here is our list.

Horse Browser

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In our opinion, this innovative new browser is top of the list. OK, maybe we’re a bit biased but here’s why we think Horse Browser is the best browser for academic research.
Other browsers offer ways to organise & group your tabs and, while this is welcome & useful, it doesn’t really solve the problem faced by academic researchers. Because grouped tabs are still easily cluttered-up or forgotten, just like bookmarks.
So let’s see what makes Horse Browser so different…
  • Unique Trails Feature: This feature marks out Horse Browser as our go-to academic research browser. Horse Browser replaces tabs with its own navigation system, called Trails. Every time you click on a link, Horse Browser opens a new page on the Trail, creating a list of nested pages in one easy-to-read vertical layout. Trails become your tabs, bookmarks and history in one. You can see exactly how you reached a particular page, allowing you to keep track of your online research rabbit holes and make valuable insights & connections along the way. You can also drag-and-drop, rename, delete and customise your Trails to create your own filing system for articles you wish to reference later. For us, it’s a revelatory way of conducting academic research.
  • Autosaves Your Pages: One of our favourite features. Horse Browser autosaves your pages, just like a Notes App. Everything you need is still there, whenever you re-open your browser, even after an update or shut down. You’ll never lose articles or important references again.
  • In-built Notes: Horse Browser offers an in-built Notes tool, where you can jot down handy notes or paste relevant quotations.
  • Focus-friendly Design: Horse Browser has a collapsible sidebar. So if you’re doing deep-focus work, like reading a long research paper, you can collapse the sidebar and give yourself distraction-free screentime. Horse also offers an extremely effective in-built Ad-Blocker and Dark Reader, which prevent intrusive ads, help you keep your focus and rest tired eyes, while you’re researching.
  • Search Features: Horse Browser supports a wide range of search engines, allowing users to customise their research experience according to their preferences. It also provides a handy Find in Page tool, which can be used across different pages. This is an extremely useful tool when you need to compare data across a variety of sources.
Pricing: $99 one-off lifetime. This is the only paid-for browser on the list. But we genuinely think the cost is worth it for Horse’s unique Trails feature and life-time access.
Being a user-supported business, Horse Browser doesn’t collect or sell users’ telemetry data. We believe we need more user-funded models, like this.

Microsoft Edge

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Microsoft’s browser, Edge, has some useful features for academics, as well as some new AI tools, and we’ve rounded up our choice of its top tools for you here.
  • Collections: Microsoft Edge’s Collections feature allows you to save webpages by dragging and dropping tabs into a Collection. Your tabs appear in a list with thumbnails for quick, easy reference. Collections can be accessed and shared anytime and include a useful notes feature. That said, Collections can quickly fall prey to the very same issue as Bookmarks. They’re easily lost, cluttered up and forgotten.
  • Immersive Reader: The Immersive Reader feature allows users to view a distraction-free version of online text and has a ‘read aloud’ function, with audio reading of the page. You can also alter the text to your preference.
  • AI tools: Edge offers an AI chatbot in its sidebar, known as Co-pilot, which can help you automatically create citations.
  • PDF Reader: Edge’s PDF Reader allows you to highlight and make notes directly into PDFs, which comes in handy when reviewing academic papers.
Pricing: Free but, unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Despite some unique security features, Microsoft Edge has received criticism due to data collection, privacy concerns and even for injecting ads into users’ desktop operating systems.


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Known as the most customisable browser out there, Vivaldi can be fine-tuned to suit you. That said, customisation takes time and can also end up in a distracted user experience.
  • Customisable tab organization: Designed to be one of the most customisable browsers out there, Vivaldi’s tab management tools are aligned with this approach. Tab stacking allows users to create groups of tabs in two-level stacks, while tab tiling gives a splitscreen view. And users can choose between vertical, accordion or compact mode to view their tabs. While Vivaldi’s customisation makes it easy to personalise your organisation, we also see potential for things to get pretty cluttered, pretty quickly!
  • In-built notes: Vivaldi has in-built notes, including a new ‘append to note’ tool, which allows you to highlight specific text and add it to a pre-existing note. Notes can be synced across devices.
  • Reader View: Like Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi offers a distraction-free Reader, which removes ads and other visual clutter when reading an online article.
Pricing: Free… But, again, there’s no free lunch here… While Vivaldi doesn’t track its users or sell data to the same extent as some other browsers, it does earn revenue through search engine and bookmark partnerships.

What makes a good academic research browser / what to look for?

When choosing a browser for academic research, there are various factors to consider, like cost, privacy, and ease of use. Maybe you’re keen to use cutting-edge AI tools or you want to prioritise minimising distractions. Perhaps there are specific factors in your workflow to consider.
Personally, we would recommend the value of paying for the premium research tool on the list, Horse Browser. As our first choice, Horse Browser outperforms the rest for deep-diving online and organising your research, thanks to its unique Trails feature. And, as a bonus, it also values your privacy.

In conclusion

Academic research browsers are focused on helping you to search effectively online, organise your references, track your research, compare data and assist your note taking. Choosing the right academic research browser can make a huge difference to your academic productivity and organisation.
To try out Horse Browser, check out more information here.
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Sencha Tea

Sencha (煎茶) is a type of Japanese ryokucha (緑茶, green tea) which is prepared by infusing the processed whole tea leaves in hot water. This is as opposed to matcha (抹茶), powdered Japanese green tea, where the green tea powder is mixed with hot water and therefore the leaf itself is included in the beverage. Sencha is the most popular tea in Japan. It represents about 80 percent of the tea produced in Japan.

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