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Covidence overview

Covidence is web-based software that assists researchers to screen references and undertake data extraction. 

If you already have an account with Covidence, log in via the link below:

Video Length: 3:24

Covidence demo - video length 3:25

Covidence allows you to conduct the following steps of the reviewing process:

  • Citation screening
  • Full text review
  • Study selection
  • Risk of bias appraisal
  • Collection of study characteristics
  • Data extraction
  • Data export

During the reviewing process, you can:

  • see the decision of your fellow reviewers
  • efficiently resolve disagreement; and
  • conclude a final decision.

Learn more:

Step 1: Create a Covidence account

Link to UniSA subscription

  1. Covidence logoEnter your UniSA email address into this form to request an invitation to UniSA's Covidence account
  2. An invitation will be emailed to you - click the link within it to confirm
  3. Create a Covidence account, using the same UniSA email address

Learn more:

Step 2: Create a new Covidence review

Sign in to Covidence (use the sign-in button in the centre of the screen). Then:

  • Which account to choose - University of South Australia select 'Create a New Review' and follow the prompts, and
  • select 'University of South Australia' - this will enable you to invite multiple co-reviewers (see example image)
Note: If there isn't an option to select 'University of South Australia', repeat Step 1 (create a Covidence account) above.

Learn more:

Step 3: Establish settings and invite co-reviewers

Once you have created a review, visit the Settings.

Here you can:

  • invite others (including co-reviewers) to your review.
  • enter keywords, which will then be highlighted in your article title/abstracts.
  • determine team roles for screening.
  • establish exclusion criteria for second pass screening.

See the full range of settings and learn how to use them by watching the below video.

Video Length: 16:20

Learn more:

Step 4: Import to Covidence

Note: you need to export your EndNote library in order to continue. Please refer to Step 4 in EndNote Tab 

You're now ready to import your references into Covidence:

  1. Select Import studies > Import to Screen
  2. 'Browse' and select the .txt file exported from EndNote
  3. Select 'Import'
Covidence video: How to import references (5:28)

Step 5: Check duplicates

After completing your reference import, Covidence will search for duplicates. If any are identified, these will automatically be suppressed and a 'Duplicates' button will appear.

You can check that Covidence de-duplicated correctly by:

  • selecting the Duplicates button.
  • compare Side-by-Side entries.
  • if you identify a false duplicate, select 'Not a Duplicate' next to that record.
  • actual duplicates require no further action.

You can also manually mark additional duplicates detected while screening as described in the article Viewing duplicates and errors.

Covidence video: Quick Tip | Managing duplicates (0:37)
  • Covidence will automatically identify duplicates by comparing the existing and the newly imported references.
  • The de-duplication method will check the exact match of article's title, year and volume number. It will also check for similarity of the authors’ name.
  • To view duplicates:
    • Go to: Review dashboard > Import studies > Manage imports
    • Select: Check duplicates
    • After the process, the duplicates will be automatically accounted for in the PRISMA flowchart
  • To access the PRISMA flowchart, go to: Review dashboard > Export studies > PRISMA

Step 6: Screen in Covidence

Watch the video below to learn how to vote in Title/Abstract screening.

New: you can now also use machine learning to help speed up the screening process.

How to screen by title and abstract (Covidence, YouTube). Video length: 3:05

Covidence video: How to screen by title and abstract (3:05)
  • In title/abstract screening, there are three voting options: Yes, No and Maybe.
  • The filter function can speed up your screening process by identifying key terms that you wish to include or exclude.
  • You may add inclusion and exclusion criteria in free text form. The criteria will be displayed during the screening process.
  • Decision conflicts can be found in the 'Resolve conflicts' tab.

Learn more:

Second pass screening requires the full text of each paper.

See the How to screen page of this Guide, Finding the full text - top tips box for strategies to help you locate full text that is proving difficult to locate.

LibKey Nomad may also help speed up the process.

Libkey Nomad logoUse LibKey Nomad™ to easily find full text articles. Download the free browser extension to enable direct links to UniSA licensed PDFs on webpages.

Watch the video below to learn how to complete full text (second pass) screening.

Covidence video: How to screen by full text (4:48)


Covidence video: How to screen by full text (4:48)
  • In full-text screening there are two voting options: Include and exclude.
  • When voting exclude you are required to provide a reason from the exclusion list.
  • You may only choose one reason from the exclusion list.
  • The exclusion list is customisable.
  • Additional comments can be provided in the Add a note section.
  • The Show Highlight function can speed up your screening process by identifying the key terms you determined.
  • Decision conflicts can be found in the Resolve conflicts tab.
  • To open the PDF file, select View full text to read the article in a new browser window.

When you are ready to do your full text screening you will need to add the full text to your records.

Covidence has partially automated the process and will use Digital Object Identifiers in records to locate and attach open access PDFs when a study moves from title and abstract screening to full text screening. This will probably not locate all available PDFs, however.

Watch the following video to learn how to add and/or remove a single PDF in Covidence. There is also a bulk PDF option.

Covidence video: Quick Tip | How to add full text articles (0:36)
  • To add a full text document, select Add full text to upload your PDF file.
  • Once the PDF file is uploaded, all reviewers can see the document.
  • To open the PDF file, select View full text to read the article in a new browser window.
  • To replace an existing PDF file:
    • Select Add another PDF
    • Set the new PDF as Primary
    • Remove the old PDF

There is also a bulk PDF upload option. This will allow you to upload a number of PDFs for full tex screening at once.

Next steps

Once you have finished screening, you are ready to commence data extraction. You can either:

  • continue using Covidence, or
  • export your included/excluded resources to another program, such as Excel.

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