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Knowledge Synthesis: Systematic, Scoping & Other Reviews


UBC Library now subscribes to Covidence, software which helps with the screening, quality appraisal and data extraction stages of systematic and scoping reviews.

To sign up for Covidence, visit the link below. You'll need to use an email address ending in

Importing References: Suggested Workflow

Most databases can export results in RIS format, which can be imported to Covidence. Suggested workflow:

1. Export references in RIS format from databases and save them in a folder.

2. In folder, create subfolders for each database (eg results from Medline, Web of Science, etc). Keep the original RIS files in case you need them later.

3. Import RIS files into Covidence, which will automatically detect and remove most duplicates.

4. Screen titles/abstracts in Covidence. Consider sorting by title so you can more easily spot and mark any additional duplicates.

5. Screen full text - click "View Abstract & IDs" to find a link to most articles, rather than uploading PDFs.

6. When finished screening full text in Covidence, you can export included studies to citation management software. From Review Settings, select Export, Included, then choose which manager.

Importing from Databases

Up to 10,000 results may be exported at a time from ProQuest databases:

Create and log into My Research account. Once logged in, you'll see a link to Export Results:


  • If there are over 10,000 results, you will need to do multiple searches limited to different date ranges.
  • Users may only request 2 exports per day.
  • Results will be available to download in the Saved Searches section of My Research.
  • Feature is not available in all ProQuest databases; for more details see ProQuest's help page.

Select either "All," or ranges of up to 1000 articles at a time, then click Export:


Then, choose RIS as the format, and be sure to change Fields to Citation, Abstract. The RIS file will download. Save it to the folder you’ve created for your review, inside the subfolder for the database (eg Medline, Embase).


At the top of the search results, click Share, then Email a link to download exported results (up to 25,000):


On the following page, enter your email and select RIS format. Please note that there have been intermittent problems reported with receiving the emailed search results - check your Junk folder, and ask your librarian if you don't receive the email.

Up to 1000 results may be exported at once:


Ensure that you include the abstract in your export:

On the search results screen, click the "Try the new version" button at the top of the screen which will allow you to export up to 20,000 results in .RIS format.

After selecting the results you would like to include in your .RIS file, either from the results or your own list, select "Export."


"Export" opens the window seen below. Select "RIS Format" and then choose the information you would like to export from the "Citation Information" column. The entire "Citation Information" column is selected by default. When choosing what is needed for you citation, be sure to include Authors, Document Title, Year, Source Title, Volume/Issue/Pages, and DOI from the "Citation Information" column, and abstract from the "Abstract" column.

Some databases and most websites do not support exporting results in RIS format. As a workaround:

  1. Export results into Zotero or EndNote. For grey literature sources which don't have an export option, you can create manual entries in one of these programs.
  2. Then, export the results from Zotero or EndNote into a file in RIS format.
  3. Import RIS file into Covidence.

Citation management software

UBC Library offers support for Mendeley and Zotero. EndNote is another popular option, but UBC users need to purchase their own access to the full version as it is not formally supported by UBC Library.

UBC's subscription to Refworks ends 30th September 2022. Users with existing accounts in Legacy Refworks and Refworks need to transfer their references to another citation management tool. For more information see the guide at 

Zotero and Mendeley have been found to have some limitations for systematic reviews. Notably:

  • Incorrect importing of citations from Ovid databases (especially Embase)
  • Zotero slows down with large libraries (over 30,000 references)
  • Mendeley will, at times, not import duplicate references - use the numbers reported by the databases, rather than by Mendeley, for your PRISMA flow diagram