Portal Natural Sciences

Our "Portal Natural Sciences" offers support for your studies, research, and teaching. Here, you will find news from the sciences, information about subject-specific events and courses offered by the university library, useful tools for scientific work, and much more.

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Coffee & Bit(e)s – the coffee lectures for scientists in Bern

Coffee, sweets, and useful information for free – attend our coffee lectures at your institute or library.

We offer news and valuable information for your scientific work, covering topics from poster design to machine learning. Short, to the point, and offering you a chance to win this year's Coffee & Bit(e)s lottery. The lectures are given in English. No registration is needed. When? We offer two coffee lecture sessions per year, one in spring and one in fall (see below). Time? Always from 15:15 to 15:30 pm. Where? Normally at several science institutes and libraries in Bern, currently online on ZOOM (details below).

Coffee & Bit(e)s in June 2020 – online lectures

Search engines: Google alternatives and why you would want to use them

4th June 2020, 15:15-15:30, online on Zoom
Dr. Nuria Plattner, subject librarian for exact sciences, University Library Bern

New geodata services for the University of Bern: Learn how to find and access geodata for your research or studies

9th and 18th June 2020, 15:15-15:30, online on Zoom
Silvan Christen and Dr. Aline Frank, subject librarians for geography and geology, University Library Bern

Ten tips to improve your scientific writing

11th June 2020, 15:15-15:30, online on Zoom
Dr. Kali Tal, lecturer academic writing, Medical Library, University Library Bern

Open Science update: Publishing with the new Open Access fund and Read&Publish models

17th June 2020, 15:15-15:30, online on Zoom
Jennifer Morger and Dr. Gero Schreier, Open Science team, University Library Bern

The Coffee & Bit(e)s Lottery

You have the chance to win a price (a surprise!) by the end of our current Coffee & Bit(e)s year. Before Christmas, we will pick a ticket from our lottery (mail)box. Thus, do not forget to post your ticket when you attend our coffee lectures - or to send us your feedback by email. You can join several times, which increases your chance of winning. Note: We will use your email address only to inform you in case that you win the lottery. We do not use your data for any other purposes.

Previous Coffee & Bit(e)s programs

Previous lecture notes

You can get the slides of some previous Coffee & Bit(e)s lectures here:

Fall 2019

Spring 2019

Fall 2018

Spring 2018

Open Science

Online publication of scientific articles and research data

Do you have questions about Open Science standards and Open Access publishing? Do you need guidance on how to fulfill the Open Science and Open Research Data requirements of the Swiss National Science Foundation or other funding agencies? The University Library provides information, consulting and courses on online publication, open access, research data management and more:


Spatial information for research and studies

We provide a variety of Swiss geographic data for members of University Bern. Get access here:


Information about genomes, proteins and more

We provide support in searching for literature, genome and protein information for the life sciences. See our services here:

Reference management

Reference management software and courses

Manage your papers and citations professionally. Courses in reference management offered by the University Library can be found here:

Scientific writing

Writing tips and courses

Would you like to improve your scientific writing skills? The University Library offers support and courses:

Literature search

Are you starting a literature search for your studies or research?

Get an overview of relevant tools, i.e., literature search websites, for finding scientific literature at the University of Bern.

Overview of literature search tools and platforms (PDF, 29KB) (German)

For further information, one-to-one teaching or group courses and literature searching for the sciences, please contact us.


Subject-specific and personal support

Our team of subject librarians for the sciences supports you in getting the information you need for your studies and research. We offer consultations and courses upon request.

Feel free to contact us.

Tools und software for your studies and research

The tools and software presented here are free of charge, at least in their basic version. 

What is your favorite tool for your studies and research? We are happy to take up your ideas for this website (frnat@ub.unibe.ch).

Analysis, statistics, graphics and data management

The R Project for Statistical Computing

R is a powerful and free software environment and programming language for statistical computing and graphics.

Computer program: Download R
Useful graphical interface for R: Download R Studio
Information for beginners: Getting started with R
E-book (in German): Angewandte Statistik, Methodensammlung mit R, J. Hedderich & L. Sachs, Springer Spektrum 2016 (full text within Uni Bern network)


Anaconda is a free, multi-functional toolset for data science applications. It facilitates the access to a large collection of Python and R libraries and enables the effective management of programming environments and software packages.


KNIME is a multi-functional tool for data analysis and visualization. It is easy to use due to its graphical interface.

Computer program: You will find more information about KNIME here.
E-book: KNIME Essentials, perform accurate data analysis using the power of KNIME, G. Bakos, Packt Publishing 2014 (full text within Uni Bern network)

Scientific writing


LaTeX is a text processing software which allows for clean formatting and embedding formula in your text. Especially useful for writing research articles in the exact sciences.

Computer program: Download LaTeX
Introduction and documentation: see The LaTeX Project documentation website.

The University of Bern offers an introductory course in using LaTex during the spring semester: see the Transferable Skills Program for (Post)Docs

Literature search

Literature search tools for the sciences

Here, we provide an overview of relevant tools, i.e., literature search websites, for finding literature in the sciences.

Overview of literature search tools and platforms (PDF, 29KB) (German)

For group courses and one-to-one teaching in literature search in the sciences, please contact frnat@ub.unibe.ch.

Reference management

Reference management software

These computer programs assist you in literature reference management and citation:

*Full version: members of University of Bern use their Campus-Licence (Citavi) or get discout for licences in the softwareshop.

Courses in reference management offered by the University Library can be found here.

Collaborative work


Scrible is a web tool that helps you to collect websites and online articles, and to flag, annotate, and share those with your colleagues.


SlideShare is useful to share and archive presentations, documents, PDFs, videos, and webinars.

Campus Cloud

Campus Cloud is useful to store documents in the cloud, in order to have them ready anywhere and anytime – and to share them with others. Recommended by the University of Bern.

Campus Cloud website


Labstep helps you to organize and document your work in the lab: "Labstep lets you create a personal or shared timeline with your lab group to track your experimental progress in the lab. You can write updates of your experiments and attach results to keep an accurate record of your work."

Social networks for research

Researchgate and Academia.edu are useful social networks specifically designed for researchers.

Registration: Researchgate and Academia.edu


Online publications

The Open Science Team of the University Library Bern offers information and support for online publication, open access, research data management, and much more.


Distinguish yourself in research! ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a unique identifier for academic authors.


The Altmetric-Plugin allows you to easily display altmetric data for electronic articles that have a DOI.

The different tools of Altmetric are shown here.



The standard software for scientific presentations. We offer some tips on how to use it most efficiently:

We recommend: Using PowerPoint in a Research Presentation, from James Clark, Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching (CIRT).
E-book: PowerPoint 2016 - gekonnt präsentieren, I. Baumeister, Bildner 2016 (German; fulltext within Uni Bern network)
E-book: Powerpoint und Prezi - sehr gut präsentieren, P.C. Lamprecht, Stiftung Warentest 2017 (German: fulltext within Uni Bern network)


Use Prezi to easily create innovative and interactive presentations online.

Here, you can find informationen about Prezi.
E-book: Powerpoint und Prezi - sehr gut präsentieren, P.C. Lamprecht, Stiftung Warentest 2017 (German; full text within Uni Bern network)

R Markdown

R Markdown allows you to establish presentations directly with R, based on your data, reproducible and flexible. The software can also be used to make handouts, interactive documents, and more. "Your data tells a story. Tell it with R Markdown. Turn your analyses into high quality documents, reports, presentations and dashboards."

Organize your work


Netvibes allows you to customize your web starting page with your personal RSS web feeds and more: "Your Personal Dashboard. See everything that’s happening: News, social media, favorite websites, apps and smart devices, all in one Dashboard."

Registration for Netvibes


Diigo is a bookmarking tool for collecting and managing websites, notes, pictures, and links.

Registration for Diigo


Toodledo helps you to establish to-do-lists and to take notes: "Toodledo is a flexible and multi-functional tool that will improve your productivity."

Registration for Toodledo

Taking notes

These programs are helpful to collect, order and easily refind your notes, documents or pictures:


Our subject librarians for the sciences

If you need further information regarding library services for the sciences, please do not hesitate to contact us (details below).


We provide personal consultations upon request

Our consultation hours provide individual and subject-specific support. Consultations currently take place by phone, email or videoconference due to Corona virus measures.

Team subject librarians for the sciences