Science Research on the iPhone and iPad

A black iPad showing blurred icons on its screen.

Image courtesy of Mono on Wikimedia Commons. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Have you ever wanted to do research on your iPad or iPhone? Working on a mobile device may not be as convenient as a computer, but more and more publishers are starting to make sure you can access articles on the go. Many have mobile websites (including the Georgia State University Library), but some have iOS apps tailored to doing research on the go. Continue reading for a list of free iOS apps (and their Android equivalents, if available) from science publishers and other useful free apps for research.

Finding Articles

  • ACS Mobile: Use ACS Mobile to browse the American Chemical Society’s newest publications, including Chemical & Engineering News. You can read the full text of articles only when on campus (or with a personal subscription). Also available for Android.
  • arXiv: Search arXiv or browse new submissions by subject. All articles are open access; you can read the PDF in the app or open it in another app. Note: the app is formatted for the iPhone, meaning an extra step is necessary to open PDFs on the iPad. For Android, use arXiv mobile.
  • EBSCOhost: Enjoy the GSU Library’s Discover search? Use the EBSCOhost app to search for and save articles from all EBSCO databases the library subscribes to. To set up the app, click “iPhone and Android apps” at the bottom of any Discover search page. Note: the app is formatted for the iPhone, meaning PDFs can be read on the iPad but not opened in another app. Also available for Android.
  • PubMed OnTap Lite: PubMed OnTap allows you to search PubMed, read articles online, and save references to an in-app library. You can access all articles the library has access to by entering GSU’s proxy URL ( in the app settings. For Android, use PubMed Mobile.

Other Useful Apps

  • Chem3D (iPad only): The iPad version of Chem3D allows you to view, manipulate, and share 3D structures. Chem3D can open C3XML, PDB, and Molfiles, along with exporting in STL for 3D printing. PerkinElmer also publishes ChemDraw for the iPad for $9.99.
  • EMD PTE: A useful periodic table app containing data for each element, molar mass calculations, and the ability to search by various classifications. Also available for Android.
  • Science360 (iPad only): View and share videos and photographs of recent research from the National Science Foundation. Science 360 isn’t aimed towards academic research, but offers a beautiful method to explore what’s happening in many different fields. To search and browse the Science360 database by topic, use the Science360 website.

Thank you to Bonnie Swoger at Information Culture and Terry Gray at Academic Technology @ Palomar College for their posts compiling science iOS apps. Check out the linked posts for more!


About Jaclyn K Werner

Jackie Werner is the GSU Chemistry, Mathematics & Statistics, and Physics & Astronomy librarian.
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2 Responses to Science Research on the iPhone and iPad

  1. That’s a fact. Working on a mobile device has its limits compared to working on a pc.
    Good to know about these free apps !

  2. Brian Pierce says:

    When I was a Mechanical and Chemical engineering student research tools were limited to what you could put your hands on at one of the libraries we had on campus at the time. The internet was still in its infancy and we were lucky to even get near a computer with web access.
    Now, although as stated it’s not as versatile and powerful as a desktop/laptop iPhones work great in a pinch or to get specific questions answered on a particular topic or to at least get ideas where to look for more data.
    Because the iPhone can show videos, audio and pictures it does make a great substitute when mobile or away from your office.