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Systematic Reviews for Health: Systematic Review Tools

A guide on how a Research Librarian can help you during a systematic review process

Systematic Review Tools

Managing the selection process can be challenging, particularly in a large-scale systematic review that involves multiple reviewers. There are various free and subscription-based tools available that support the study selection process (Cochrane Handbook,

This page describes various tools available to help conduct a systematic review. The University of Tasmania has access to EndNote, Covidence and JBI SUMARI.


Covidence is an online systematic review program developed by, and for, systematic reviewers. It can import citations from reference managers like EndNote, facilitate the screening of abstracts and full-text, populate risk of bias tables, assist with data extraction, and export to all common formats.

Covidence Demo video [3:24]

Covidence is a core component of Cochrane's review production toolkit and has also been endorsed by JBI.

Which version of Covidence is best for you?

  • Free trial version: for anyone wanting to try Covidence and find out whether it is suitable for their project. Gives you 1 free review for 2 reviewers
  • Free for Cochrane authors: Covidence is free to use for those authoring Cochrane reviews.
  • Subscription version: the UTAS Library has purchased a subscription for a Covidence account that provides reviews for UTAS researchers. 


Training & Help


Abstrackr is a software for semi-automated abstract screening for systematic reviews. At present, Abstrackr is a free, open-source tool for facilitating the citation screening process. Upload your abstracts, invite reviewers, and get to screening!


Rayyan is a free online tool that can be used for screening and coding of studies in a systematic review. It uses tagging and filtering to code and organise references.



The System for the Unified Management, Assessment and Review of Information (SUMARI) is JBI's software for the systematic review of literature.

It is designed to assist researchers to conduct systematic reviews and facilitates the entire review process. SUMARI supports 10 review types. It is especially useful for new review types and qualitative reviews.

University of Tasmania researchers have access to SUMARI via the JBI EBP Database under EBP Tools.

SUMARI support:


RevMan 5 is the software used for preparing and maintaining Cochrane Reviews. RevMan facilitates preparation of protocols and full reviews, including text, characteristics of studies, comparison tables, and study data. It can perform meta-analysis of the data entered, and present the results graphically.

RevMan 5 is no longer being developed, but they continue to support Cochrane authors.

RevMan Web is the next generation of Cochrane's software for preparing and maintaining systematic reviews. This web-based version of RevMan works across all platforms, is installation-free, and automatically updated. 


DistillerSR is a systematic review software. It was designed from the ground up to provide a better review experience, faster project completion and transparent, audit-ready results.

What can you do in DistillerSR?
Upload your references from any reference management software, create screening and data extraction forms, lay out workflow and assign reviewers, monitor study progress and review process, export results (incl PRISMA flowchart automation).

This software is more sophisticated and a bit harder to learn. DistillerSR attracts a fee.

SR Toolbox

The Systematic Review Toolbox is a community-driven, searchable, web-based catalogue of tools that support the systematic review process across multiple domains. The resource aims to help reviewers find appropriate tools based on how they provide support for the systematic review process. Users can perform a simple keyword search (i.e. Quick Search) to locate tools, a more detailed search (i.e. Advanced Search) allowing users to select various criteria to find specific types of tools and submit new tools to the database.

Need More Help?
Book a consultation with a Learning and Research Librarian or contact