Before getting started
- Read this overview article which explains how this feature works
- Enable the study centric data feature in RevMan
- The Covidence upload works with the study centric data feature in RevMan. For non-Cochrane reviews this will be enabled by default. For Cochrane reviews, authors can enable this in the advanced features section on the review dashboard. You can also use the practice review in RevMan to test this feature and the import. For more information about study centric data read this Cochrane knowledge base article.
Importing data to RevMan
Covidence produces a RIS file and 4 CSVs to import into RevMan. The following steps outline how to ensure the data in the CSVs can be successfully uploaded into RevMan.
1. Download references in the "Cochrane RevMan" RIS file from Covidence:
a. Upload reference data. If you want to upload the reference data for included studies, upload the RIS file before importing the CSVs. This needs to be done before you import the CSVs into RevMan. If you import them afterwards then you’ll get duplicate studies in RevMan. On the Export page, you can select Export to file > References > Stage > Included > Format and then select 'Cochrane RevMan' option. This will produce a .ris file that you will be able to import to your included studies section in RevMan as described here.
b. To import excluded studies into RevMan, you need to export the list of excluded studies from Covidence using a RIS format option. On the Export page, you can select Export to file > References > Stage > Excluded > Format and then select 'Cochrane RevMan' option. This will produce a .ris file that you will be able to import to your excluded studies section in RevMan as described here. Please note that exclusion reasons are not exported currently through this pathway.
2. Download the 4 CSVs from Covidence:
a. Click “Export” on the review summary page and then click on the “Export to RevMan Web” tab.
b. Click on the “Export RevMan Web file” button to download the 4 CSVs: Study information, Study arms, Study results, Risk of bias.
c. If “Study custom results” is also exported this means that some data will need to be manually added into RevMan Web. See the last section of this document which explains those steps.
3. Add ‘Identification’ field to study characteristics tables in RevMan.
a. Some data is captured in the “Identification” section in Extraction 1.0. This is exported in the “Study information” CSV in column “Char: Identification”:
b. In RevMan, ‘Identification’ is not a default field in the study characteristics tables. To enable the data captured in Covidence to be exported, navigate to “Review criteria” in RevMan, then “Characteristics”, and select “Add characteristic definition”. Then rename the characteristic to “Identification”.
4. Map study arms to Interventions in RevMan.
a. Interventions can be found in RevMan by navigating to “Review criteria” and then clicking “Interventions”. Interventions defined in the “Review criteria” are the basis for synthesising results from studies:
b. In the “Study arms” csv, Covidence populates the “Arm” column but the “Intervention” column is blank. Map the ‘Arm’ column to review level interventions you’ve defined in RevMan by adding intervention names into the “Interventions” column:
Note: the intervention names must be added into the CSV and they must match exactly with those added into RevMan otherwise you’ll get errors when you try to import the CSV.
5. Check outcome names captured in Covidence match those defined in RevMan.
a. Outcomes can be found in RevMan by navigating to “Review criteria” and then clicking “Outcomes”. Outcomes defined in the “Review criteria” are the basis for synthesising results from studies:
b. (optional) you might want to tidy up the outcome names added into the csv to ensure the same outcomes across studies have the same spellings and align to the outcomes you will be creating analysis for in RevMan. If you’ve added multiple timepoints for an outcome these need to be added into RevMan as separate outcomes.
c. Check that the outcome names in the csv match those in RevMan and have the correct type (Continuous or Dichotomous).
d. Top tip: If you have lots of outcome names you can use the formula below to get a unique list of outcomes which will help you check that these match those in RevMan.
Note: The outcome names must match exactly or you’ll receive an error when uploading to RevMan.
6. (Optional) Add any covariates to the CSV before uploading.
a. If you want to subgroup by a property of the included studies, you can add “Covariates” and the relevant categories into RevMan. You can do this by navigating to “Review criteria” in RevMan, then selecting “Covariates”. Once you’ve added the Covariates and the categories you can: Either, add these manually to each study after importing the data. This might be quicker for a small amount of studies.
b. Or, you can add the relevant covariate and categories into “Studies info” CSV before uploading. You can do this by naming the column “Cov: xyz” where “xyz” is the Covariate name and adding the relevant category e.g. “<4%” or “>4%” to the studies you want to subgroup:
Note: the covariate and category names must match exactly with those added into RevMan otherwise you’ll get an error when you import the CSV.
7. Check that the risk of bias domains and outcome groups captured in Covidence match those in RevMan.
a. You can find the review level risk of bias settings in RevMan by navigating to the “Review criteria” page and selecting “Risk of bias”.
b. In the “Risk of bias” CSV check the name of the domains match with those in RevMan. In RevMan, add any “Groups” to the relevant domains by adding outcome groups. Note: The domain names and groups (outcome groups) must be added and must match exactly before you import. This includes the group "All outcomes".
8. Import data.
a. Once you have cross checked the "Study information", “Study arms”, “Study results” and “Risk of bias (ROB)” CSVs to ensure that they match with what you have added into RevMan. You are ready to upload the 4 CSVs to RevMan. Navigate to the Dashboard in RevMan and click “Import study data”.
b. Navigate to the Dashboard in RevMan and click “Import study data”. Select “Import from template”.
c. Upload the four files provided by Covidence that you’ve edited and select “Import study data”. If you do not need the risk of bias file, you can omit it but you must upload the other three files:
d. Once the import is complete you’ll see a message at the top of the screen stating “Import complete”. You’ll likely see some formatting messages but that’s ok as long as it states the same number of studies you expected RevMan to find:
If you get any errors stating “File contains inconsistent data” it's most likely because the interventions, outcomes, risk of bias domains and outcome groups don't match exactly to those in RevMan. Double check that there are no additional spaces or formatting differences between the CSVs and RevMan. For example; differences in upper and lower case characters between the CSVs and RevMan.
Adding custom outcomes into RevMan
You will need to add a manual analysis into RevMan if you have added any custom effect measures into Covidence. You might also want to create custom outcomes if you have within study subgroups. For more information read this Cochrane knowledge base article.
If you have added any custom measures into Covidence, then a file will be created called “Study custom results” when you export your RevMan files. These can’t be uploaded to RevMan, but you can manually create analyses by navigating to “Analyses” and selecting “Add Analysis”.
2. Select “Manual” and follow Cochrane's guidance
For more information about importing data to RevMan, read this article.
For a detailed walkthrough on how to export to RevMan, you can view this video.