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Covidence is a web-based platform that streamlines the process of conducting a comprehensive literature review.

How do I import references?

Importing studies

You can import references into Covidence by clicking on the "Import" tool from your Review Summary page. Here you can select the file and the category that the references will appear in.  Covidence currently supports three formats for file imports:

EndNote XML
PubMed text format
RIS text format

Note: These files will have a .txt, .xml, or .ris file name. 

You can import files up to 50 MB in size into Covidence, and up to 15,000 references. Larger files may take longer to upload and process. One file can be imported at a time, and there is no limit to how many imports you can perform.

Covidence automatically checks duplicates upon import. These are reported on the PRISMA chart as well. 

Note: For more information PRISMA, please see the PRISMA tab within this research guide here.

To import references to your review, follow these steps:

Step 1. Click "Import" from the Review Summary page


Step 2. Select which stage you'd like to import studies into:

  • Screen: studies for title and abstract screening
  • Full text review: studies included during title and abstract screening, which are now ready for full text review
  • Included: studies included during full text review, which are now ready data extraction
  • Excluded: studies excluded during full text review
  • Irrelevant:  studies excluded during title and abstract screening


Step 3. Click "Choose file" and select the file from your computer. As shown below, the file you select must be a .txt, .xml, or .ris file


Step 4. Click "Import". Once your file is uploaded, you'll be re-directed to your Review Summary page.

From here you can monitor the progress of your import, as shown below:


Step 5:  Check your import.

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 on the Import History page. Here you can see those references that Covidence has automatically detected as duplicate record. If your import appears to have fewer references than expected, check for duplicates, and for references that have been associated into a single study, as this is likely the cause!

How do I view duplicates and errors?

Covidence automatically checks duplicates upon import. The de-duplication mechanism checks both within the file being uploaded as well as against all previous imports.

Note: To identify duplicate references, Covidence checks the title, year, and volume - all of which must match exactly, and the authors must be similar.

Reviewing duplicates

You can view the duplicates from the Imports >> Import History page. Click "Check duplicates" under the import listed to see the references that were taken out.

Covidence will show you two references that it thought were the same.  As shown below, the reference on the left has been added to your screening list, while the reference on the right was detected as a duplicate.

Note: If any were removed by mistake you can click "not a duplicate" and they will be restored to your reference list.undefined


To import references into Covidence, you must create a document containing your citations and save it as an XML, CRS, or RIS text file.  These files will have a .txt, .xml, or .ris file name. 

If you are having trouble exporting your references from your preferred citation management platform, visit the Importing References into Covidence research guide created by the University of North Carolina.

It gives detailed instructions and tutorial videos on how to export references from Endnote, F1000, Mendeley, and import other citation management services into Covidence.

Web of Science does not allow users to export results in RIS format.

As a workaround:

  • Export Web of Science results into RefWorks, EndNote, or Zotero
  • Then, export the results from RefWorks, EndNote, or Zotero into a file in RIS format
  • Import file into Covidence

‚Äč With thanks to the University of Alberta Library's PDF document, Exporting Search Results into Covidence.

For more information, please refer to Covidence’s Import support page which includes further detailed information on:

  • Importing references
  • Viewing duplicates and errors
  • Bulk PDF Import (beta)
  • Undoing an import


Click the “?” icon directly in the Covidence webpage banner (see below). 


E-mail Covidence directly at, or e-mail a UVic Librarian,

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This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.