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Zotero: Collaboration: Zotero Groups

Information about the free online citation and research management tool Zotero

Create a Group

1. At, login to your account.

2. Go to

3. Choose a name for your group, and choose the type of group .

4. Set and save your Group Settings and Library Settings.

5. Under Members Settings you can designate roles for members and invite new members. You can send the invitations using email addresses or Zotero usernames. 

Member roles are:

  • Group owner: can change group public/private status, control access by members, change group settings, and delete/transfer ownership of a group.
  • Administrator: change group public/private status, control access by members, and change group settings.
  • Member: edit group library according to access level determined by administrator or group owner.

To create a new group, click on the "New Library..." icon located next to the New Collection icon in the top left corner of Zotero. When you click on the New Library icon, select "New Group" from the drop-down menu (demonstrated below). 

Create a new group

When you select "New Group," you will be brought to this page on Zotero's website where you can create a new group. 

Create a New Group Webpage

Group Types

There are three different types of groups for Zotero users: Public, Open Membership; Public, Closed Membership; and Private.


Public, Open Membership

  • Open public groups are useful for the broadest discussion and collaboration.
  • The group page is public, and anyone who wants to can join instantly.
  • If the group has a public library, administrators can choose to show or hide the entire library or individual collections from non-members.


Public, Closed Membership

  • Closed membership groups are useful for creating a controlled group environment with a public presence.
  • This allows a group to publicly present its work and sources, or develop new membership in a controlled fashion.
  • Anyone can view the group page, but the only way to join the group is by invitation or by requesting an invitation.
  • If the group has a public library, administrators can choose to show or hide the entire library or individual collections from non-members. 


Private Membership

  • Private groups provide a means of collaboration among group members without creating any public face for the group online.
  • Only group members and users invited to join the group are able to see the group’s page.
  • Private groups are completely hidden from group searches.
  • They are not shown on members’ public profile pages and will not appear in search engine results.

Inviting Colleagues to Groups

Once you have created a group for your project, you need to invite members. To do so, go to the Zotero website, click on the Groups tab, and then on the "Manage Members" link. On this page, there is a link that will allow you to invite users, so be sure to have the emails they used to create their Zotero accounts handy!

Groups tab on Zotero's website

Adding Items to a Group

To add items to your Zotero Groups, simply drag and drop the items from your Zotero Library into the desired Group Library folder. If you would like for group members to see changes to the Group Library, make sure that they have enabled data syncing.

Dragging references from your library in Zotero to a group's library

Syncing Zotero Groups

Enable Data Syncing and your group library will appear in the Zotero client in the left column. Personal and group libraries are completely separate, although items can be copied between libraries by dragging them back and forth. Any items dragged into groups are separate copies, so if you make changes to an item in a group library, those changes will not be reflected in the copy of the item in My Library (unless you drag the item back into My Library.)

Group Storage

If you create a group and enable file syncing to Zotero, any files synced will count against your personal storage allowance of 300 MB.  If you want to purchase additional storage for a group, you may want to create a new Zotero account with an email address not associated with a person, but rather an organization. 

Troubleshooting Groups

Group Members Can Not Add or Edit Documents

The settings to manage who can edit the group's library and edit file attachments are located on Zotero's website under Groups, then the group you're using, then Library Settings, then Library Editing and File Editing.
Using Library settings on Zotero's website for groups to allow other group members to add files and edit the library

There are two main options available here:

  1. Make all members administrators and only allow administrators to edit the library. This is helpful if your group includes colleagues who you trust to have full control over the group's library and others who you'd like to be able to view the library but not edit it.
  2. Allow all members to edit files and the library. This is the ideal option if your group only includes members who you trust to have full control over the contents of the group's library.


Items Are Not Showing Up for All Group Members

The most likely reason for this is that the owner of the group has filled up their quota of free space. The owner of the group can check on this by going to Zotero's website, logging in, clicking Settings, then selecting Storage.

Viewing your storage usage on Zotero's website under Settings and then Storage

If the owner has used up all of their storage, then they have two options:

  1. Opt to not sync their personal library. If they do not have any documents in their personal library that they care to lose, then this option may give your group some extra space to work with. The owner can do so under their Zotero preferences by unchecking the box labeled Sync attachment files in My Library using. See here that both boxes are checked:
    Changing your sync preferences in Zotero under preferences and sync
  2. The owner can purchase extra storage for their Zotero account. Extra storage is relatively affordable, with the cheapest plan providing 2GB extra storage for one year for $20. Do keep in mind that, by default, Zotero selects "Automatically renew," so be sure to de-select this option if you do not want Zotero to continue to charge you after a year has passed.