Excel could do this, but it would take quite a bit of finagling to make it work (and probably some scripting and/or pivot tables).
If you are handy with OFfice in general you could fairly easily do this in Access, however, I find Access sometimes overly difficult to get nice looking reports -- although the newer 2007 templates seem to be really decent out of the box.
I would wager that Access will be your best bet in this scenario because it has fairly decent database connectivity drawing tools (makes it really easy to connect the cross-referencing data between your table of papers, authors, etc). You also wont find yourself having to learn SQL this route. And in a database this small, I doubt you'd ever run into problems with Access. Personally I'm not too handy with Access, but our IR department where I work use it for this sort of stuff all the time on our alumni & student contact data.
However, if you are a programmer or don't have Access, you could always use my personal favorite database software even for small projects: PHP/MySQL. It is probably overkill for what you are looking at doing, but you could grab Xampp (which has php, mysql, and phpMyAdmin all bundled into one package). Basically you just load all your data with phpMyAdmin and use php to format your reports.