Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Systematic and Scoping 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.  

5. For any additional duplicates found in Covidence, you can either:

a. simply screen them out

b. tag them, then manually adjust the numbers in the PRISMA diagram generated by Covidence.

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:

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

  1. Export results into Zotero, RefWorks, 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, RefWorks, 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. UBC also subscribes to and supports RefWorks, but there are known compatibility issues with UBC Student Office 365. EndNote is another popular option, but UBC users need to purchase their own access to the full version and it is not formally supported by UBC Library.

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