Knowledge Base

Importing references

You can import references into Covidence by navigating to the Import Studies tool from your Review dashboard. Here you can select the file and the category (which is the stage or step of the review process) that the references will appear in.  We currently support three main formats for imported references, these are:

  • EndNote XML
  • PubMed XML
  • RIS text format

If using the RIS format, we support imports with files exported from the following reference managers.

  • Cochrane Registry of studies
  • EndNote
  • Zotero
  • Mendeley
  • RefWorks

 Please note that we don't support the importing of Endnote library files (.enl). In order to convert your .enl file to a Covidence-accepted format, we recommend the following steps:

  1. In EndNote, make sure that you have highlighted all of the references that you wish to Export. Note: If you wish to export the whole library then see our tip at step 2
  2. In EndNote go to File >> Export >> and save the file for export locally on your computer. In order to export as an EndNote XML choose to save the file as type “XML”. The output style is really up to you! Some of us tend to use “RefMan (RIS) export” though. If you wish to export your entire library then simply uncheck the box for “export selected references”. Note: you can also export as a txt file in EndNote by selecting to save your file as type “Text only” and the output style as “RefMan (RIS) export”

If you have a file that is not in either of these accepted formats, then we recommend you convert the file in your reference manager. To do this, import the file into your reference manager and export it following the steps listed above. In some cases you might need to import into your reference manager using a specific filter. For EndNote, these can be downloaded from here

Once you’ve successfully imported your file into Covidence, it’s best to check your import. To do this go back to the Import studies tool >> Manage imports page. Here you can see those references that Covidence has automatically detected as duplicate or studified record. If your import appears to have fewer references than expected, check for duplicates and associated references, as this is likely the cause!


Uploading files to different stages

When you import references into Covidence you can specify the category with which the references should be associated.  The categories are

  • Screen: Those citations for Title and abstract screening
  • Full text review: Those citations for full text review
  • Included: Those citations included at full text review which are now for data extraction
  • Excluded: Those citations excluded at full text review
  • Irrelevant:  Those citations deemed irrelevant at title and abstract screening

You can indicate which category you'd like using the drop-down menu in the Import File tool.

For example, if you have already screened your references without using Covidence (you might have used Excel for instance) you can import the remaining references into the Full text review category.  You can then start the using Covidence for doing your Full text review.

Files up to 50 MB in size can be imported into Covidence. There is no limit to the number of references you can import, or the number of imported files. Please note that a larger file may take longer to upload & process.