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Transition from RefWorks to Zotero at OU

OUKL's subscription to RefWorks will expire in April 2023. Learn how to use Zotero, our new citation management tool.

Latest update on the transition

January 25 2023 update:
At the end of Winter 2023 semester, the OU Libraries' subscription to RefWorks will expire. With the library experiencing ongoing budgetary pressure, we can no longer support a fee-based citation management system. After evaluating a number of free citation management tools, we feel that Zotero offers the best combination of features, and the library will transition its support to Zotero during Winter 2023 semester.
Watch this space for further information as we develop materials to support OU students and faculty in their transition to Zotero. If you have questions or comments about citation management tools at OU, please email them to us at

FAQs on the RefWorks / Zotero transition

1. Why are we canceling OU’s subscription to RefWorks?

Like most academic libraries, OU Libraries has faced annual cost increases for subscription resources, and campus-wide budget cuts at OU over the last several years have increased the pressure on the library’s material budget. The library’s response has been to cancel subscriptions to a number of continuing resources including RefWorks (FY2023 cost approximately $19,000), and look for free or low-cost alternatives to paid subscriptions while maintaining the quality of library resources.

2. When will access to RefWorks end for OU affiliates?

The OU subscription to RefWorks ends in June 2023. OU Libraries will support all current RefWorks users to transition to the Zotero citation manager prior to that date.

3. How did we decide on Zotero as the replacement for RefWorks?

In the Fall 2022 semester a group of OU Library faculty and staff conducted a survey of OU RefWorks users to determine their needs and preferences in a citation management application. Based on user feedback, the library team identified several alternatives that offer key features equivalent to RefWorks at lower cost. Zotero was selected as the best alternative considering a number of factors including features, cost (Zotero is free and open source), and stability.

4. What support for the transition from RefWorks to Zotero will be provided to OU students and faculty?

Kresge Library will offer online guidance, workshops, and individual consultations during the Winter 2023 semester to OU RefWorks users transitioning to Zotero.

Prior updates