Skip to main content

Refworks Flow - the Latest Version of Refworks: Home

Flow is the new "next generation" version of RefWorks. Instead of storing PDFs on your computer, you can now store them "in the cloud" along with your citations. Users can also fully allow collaboration on their bibliographies within the U. of Denver.

How Does Flow Relate to RefWorks?

RefWorks supports the referencing and citing workflow, Flow supports referencing and citing as well as reading, annotating, and collaborating on research papers.  Flow focuses on full-text documents and collaboration, RefWorks focuses on references and citations.

Read more here.

Flow Help

This guide provides only a basic introduction to RefWorks Flow. To get more help, visit

RefWorks Model

RefWorks Model

Flow Model

Flow Model

Review of Flow

Before migrating your RefWorks database to Flow, consider these factors. As of January 2014, not all RefWorks fields migrate over to Flow. Several researchers have noted this, and further testing has proven this to be the case. Many researchers keep notes in custom fields in RefWorks like User 1, User 2, etc. Other critical fields are also not migrating over. Only the most basic bibliographic fields will migrate. In many cases your data will be lost.

Another consideration is that Flow generally produces flawed metadata fields when dropping PDFs for uploading.

When manually entering citation into Flow, basic fields are lacking. For example, the book entry form has no way to enter series titles. Every one of the genres has serious flaws of this type.

Even though it is called "Flow," it really doesn't offer a great workflow. The ultimate goal is to get both citations and PDFs united together in the cloud. If one starts with PDFs downloaded to a personal computer, and then attempts to upload them to Flow hoping for quality metadata, that generally will not happen. Attempts at metadata matches generally result in data in incorrect fields and missing data. Users are then left to fend for themselves in an attempt at finishing the task where Flow left off. Better luck happens when you export data from a database and import into Flow. But this brings over just the metadata, not the PDFs. Users then must download the PDFs to a local computer, remember what they named them and where they are located, then attempt to upload to the correct citation in Flow. If Dropbox is enabled, then Flow backloads the PDF to Dropbox. So now you have your PDF in four places: on your laptop, in the Flow cloud, in the Dropbox cloud, and in the Dropbox folder on your computer again.

For these reasons we are not recommending that experienced RefWorks users migrate to Flow at this time.

Stay tuned.....

Reference Librarian

Ask Us!