This SPSPotlight feature is the first in a two-part series that will aim to provide a comprehensive overview of 15 notable AI platforms, examining their features, benefits, limitations, and risks to guide users in making informed decisions. One of the biggest changes that benefit our scope as graduate student researchers is the availability of many new generative artificial intelligence (GAI) platforms exclusively built to assist research and maximize success. I've been researching different GAI tools to find the most reliable and the highest for delivering academic success. Last fall, SPSPotlight featured an article with insights on trends and developments of generative artificial intelligence while also highlighting important limitations and risks some of these platforms have.

I became extremely curious about the validity or potential reduction in clinical research organization and research writing workflows. I started testing out several GAI platforms, including GPT-4 add-ons, ChatGPT, Google's Gemini and NotebookLM beta, Humata, and X/Twitter's beta version of Grok+. Based on research during my graduate coursework on integrating GAI into clinical research trials and clinical data management models, there's been skepticism due to the limitations of GAI beta statuses and developing technology that is known to produce false responses or the OpenAI coined term "hallucinations" when AI prompt responses are inaccurate.

After working with nearly a dozen GAI products or GAI beta tools, there is an extremely positive outlook on the beneficial impact that reduces work for graduate student researchers in personality and social psychology. Personally, I believe that some GAI tools are game changers, specifically for qualitative research analysis, creating study notes or flashcards, understanding complex journal articles, and organizing information for big projects. It is important to note that while all of these GAI-powered research assistants are vastly helpful, users should read and re-write prompt outputs as needed instead of simply using a copy/paste function. Try all or some of these cutting-edge platforms, and please let the SPSPotlight team know your thoughts and reviews.

Obtaining Academic Approval

The most important factor for graduate students in psychology is obtaining approval for the use of GAI tools from your faculty and faculty advisor before starting on your exploration journey in this new era of technology that benefits coursework output. Early this spring term, I emailed my professors and requested permission to test and utilize some of the tools discussed in this article. To my surprise, all faculty allowed the use of some of these tools with curiosity and simply requested that utilized GAI tools be cited in any submitted work. I've been utilizing Speechify and Grammarly+ for a long time, greatly benefiting my academic performance. I was excited to add a new repertoire of GAI tools, such as Google's NotebookLM beta, the Grok+ beta, GPT-4 add-ons, ChatGPT, Humata, and others to compare and contrast the benefits and monitor improvements in time management for academic or professional deadlines.  

Top Rated GAI Tools

In the realm of artificial intelligence (AI), a diverse landscape of platforms exists, each offering unique capabilities, benefits, limitations, and associated risks. The GAI tools discussed were selected specifically for their ability to help researchers, faculty, and graduate students. Properly selecting a GAI platform is crucial for researchers, educators, and practitioners aiming to leverage AI's potential in their work. Let's delve deeper into each platform to enhance the article with more detailed benefits, features, and potential limitations.

1. Consensus Beta AI

The Consensus app stands out for its ability to summarize academic papers swiftly, making it invaluable for researchers and students seeking quick insights. Consensus AI-driven search engine is tailored for academic papers, enabling users to quickly grasp the main points of research through a user-friendly online interface. It utilizes vector searching and custom fine-tuned large language models LLMs to deliver contextually relevant results and introduces the Consensus Meter to summarize the academic consensus on queried topics. Despite its innovative approach, challenges include ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the synthesized academic consensus.

  • Benefits: Consensus excels in summarizing dense academic material, offering researchers and students a time-efficient tool to grasp paper contents quickly. Its unique Consensus Meter provides an innovative way to gauge academic agreement on specific topics.
  • Features: Vector searching, LLMs for contextual relevance, Consensus Meter.
  • Limitations: Consensus may need more depth in certain niche fields due to the general nature of its summarization algorithms. Key ethical issues in AI-assisted healthcare using Consensus include accountability, transparency, and potential research inaccuracy from algorithmic bias.
  • Costs: Try for free by signing up, with tiered paid plans available.

2. Elicit

Elicit is designed to streamline the literature review process for researchers by offering capabilities to search through an extensive database of academic papers, generate summaries, and extract key findings by leveraging LLMs like GPT to automate parts of the research workflow in literature reviews. Elicit aids in the literature review process by summarizing research papers, extracting key findings, and creating visualizations. Developed by Ought, it automates literature reviews, synthesizes evidence, and designs research plans. Elicit searches through an extensive database of academic papers using natural language queries. Elicit's dependency on the quality of the papers it analyzes and its effectiveness primarily in empirical research constitute its main limitations.

  • Benefits: Elicit revolutionizes literature reviews by automating the process, saving researchers countless hours. Its ability to synthesize evidence and plan research is unparalleled. Elicit also allows researchers to upload papers and extract data from PDFs.
  • Features: Summarization, evidence extraction, research planning, visualization tools.
  • Limitations: Its effectiveness relies heavily on the quality and accessibility of the limited Semantic Scholar database it searches.
  • Costs: Try for free by signing up, with tiered paid plans available.

3. enhances the discovery and evaluation of scientific publications, providing Smart Citations that show how a publication was cited and whether it supports, mentions, or contradicts the cited claims. This platform is instrumental in assessing the credibility and relevance of scientific literature. The extent of its database and the integration with large language models to minimize AI-generated content's hallucinations seem pivotal to its success.

  • Benefits: Provides a novel approach to validating scientific literature, giving researchers a tool to quickly assess the credibility of publications through Smart Citations. Has a plugin for Zotero.
  • Features: Smart Citations categorizing references as supporting, mentioning, or contradicting.
  • Limitations: The platform's utility is contingent on the scope of its database and the accuracy of citation categorization.
  • Costs: Free 7-day trial leading to paid plans.

4. ScholarAI

ScholarAI caters specifically to the academic community, offering AI-driven tools for finding relevant information, generating citations, and extracting figures and tables from articles. It leverages the capabilities of GPT-4 Turbo for its Copilot feature, offering tools like Abstract Search, Literature Mapping, and Neural Net PDF Reading. ScholarAI is positioned as a powerful assistant for scientific research. It's designed to make the research process more efficient and insightful, particularly for students and researchers.

  • Benefits: ScholarAI leverages GPT-4 Turbo to offer advanced research assistance, including abstract searches and literature mapping, enhancing the efficiency of academic research.
  • Features: Abstract Search, Literature Mapping, Neural Net PDF Reading.
  • Limitations: It may require high proficiency in query or prompt formulation for best results.
  • Costs: Try for free by signing up, with tiered paid plans available.

5. Perplexity AI

Perplexity AI combines AI with human expertise to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, making it a reliable tool for students and researchers. Its conversational search engine responds to queries with natural language, which is excellent for summarizing search results. Perplexity AI provides straightforward answers with inline citations. It uses GPT-3.5 and its own LLM for free services, and a paid version offers access to advanced AI models. Features include direct answers, entity linking, and focused search.

  • Benefits: Stands out for delivering direct answers with citations, making it ideal for quick fact-checking and research.
  • Features: Inline citations, conversational search engine, entity linking.
  • Limitations: The depth of answers can vary based on the complexity of the question and the underlying model's knowledge base.
  • Costs: Try for free by signing up, with tiered paid plans available.

6. specializes in analyzing and interacting with documents, particularly PDFs. It reads and generates answers directly from the content of uploaded documents, providing cited evidence for its responses. This platform handles long and complex documents like research papers and legal contracts. is one of my favorite go-to platforms for extremely complex documents involving hundreds or thousands of pages for review. Yet, Google's NotebookLM beta quickly becomes its major rival in this feature. Additionally, has successfully raised significant funding to further enhance its AI capabilities and expand into new markets, including Google's capital investments. With thousands of customers on its paid plan, the platform is geared toward revolutionizing document analysis by empowering businesses and individuals to make faster and better-informed decisions based on their private user data feature. 

  • Benefits: It excels in document analysis and interaction and is especially useful for engaging with long-form content such as research papers and contracts. Can upload private documents without integrating these into their LLM's general knowledge.
  • Features: Direct reading and answering from PDFs, cited evidence for responses.
  • Limitations: Performance may be affected by the document's format and clarity.
  • Costs: Try for free by signing up, with tiered paid plans available based on pages, OCR, and queries.

7. Grok+

Grok is notable for its open-source nature and large parameter count, allowing for a better understanding of complex ideas. Developed by xAI, it's designed to serve as a powerful research assistant, incorporating a bit of humor in its responses. I love utilizing Grok for research on corporations and institutions, learning about timelines for certain societal issues, and for user sentiment research. Surprisingly, it is a dynamic platform with the power of X/Twitter users' tweeted content and unbelievable accuracy in delivering relevant data. Grok's prompt responses are easy to formulate, whereas other GAI platforms like ChatGPT require much toiling to extract the correct information. Grok is designed to offer a unique interaction experience, serving as a powerful research assistant providing users with relevant information, new ideas, and data analysis capabilities.

  • Benefits: Grok offers transparency and flexibility as an open-source platform, inviting collaboration and community-driven improvements.
  • Features: Large parameter count for understanding complex concepts, open-source.
  • Limitations: Being community-driven, it might need faster development and support than commercially backed projects. 
  • Costs: Only available for X+ verified accounts; you must request to become a beta user.

8. ChatGPT

A well-funded company, OpenAI, backs ChatGPT. OpenAI's management has drawn significant negative attention due to the instability of executives, investors, and board members. ChatGPT is still in ongoing development support, and its large user base contributes to its improvement. However, its closed-source nature may limit transparency and collaboration. From personal experience, ChatGPT requires very specific prompts to extract accurate information. I've found that while ChatGPT excels in some areas of new development, such as DALL-E and Academic Assistant Pro, the technology creates hallucinations more frequently than other tested GAI models.

  • Benefits: Continuous development and a vast user base make ChatGPT a robust, evolving platform.
  • Features: Large language model, community feedback for improvement.
  • Limitations: Its closed-source nature may limit customization and transparency for research purposes.
  • Costs: Try for free by signing up, with paid plans available.

9. Google's Gemini

Gemini, developed by Google DeepMind and Google Research, is recognized for its versatility. It caters to various industries and is integrated with Google's core products, enhancing reasoning and understanding. Like ChatGPT's hallucinations, I've found it difficult for Gemini to deliver accurate, prompt responses. There are complicated ways to upload PDF files, yet the beta nature of the GAI might be frustrating to those who lack programming skills.

  • Benefits: Gemini's integration with Google products enhances its utility across various industries, providing a versatile AI solution.
  • Features: Versatile applications integrated with Google's ecosystem.
  • Limitations: May prioritize general applicability over specialized needs.
  • Costs: It requires a Google account and additional fees may vary.

10. Google's NotebookLM Beta

Google's NotebookLM represents an experimental and groundbreaking advancement in integrating artificial intelligence into productivity tools. It is designed to elevate the user experience by facilitating the synthesis and analysis of information. NotebookLM is an AI-powered notebook that helps users synthesize and analyze vast amounts of information. NotebookLM allows users to ground the AI in their specific notes and sources, creating a personalized AI experience that allows you to upload as many documents into each notebook. Google's NotebookLM introduces a series of innovative features to enhance traditional digital notebooks' functionality and utility. NotebookLM is quickly becoming my go-to platform for creating flashcards, summaries, and extensive data searches based on its ease of use and the ability to upload unlimited documents.

  • Benefits: It offers a personalized AI research assistant, grounded in users' own notes and sources, for tailored information synthesis.
  • Features: Personalized AI experience, synthesis, and analysis of information.
  • Limitations: Its effectiveness directly relates to the user's input quality and organization. It is dependent on Google's ecosystem and having a Google account.
  • Costs: It requires a Google account.

Have you used AI platforms in your work? Share your experience! We'll be featuring your feedback in part two of this series along with recaps about several other AI platforms, so stay tuned!