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EndNote: EndNote for Systematic Reviews

All your EndNote questions answered

EndNote for Systematic Reviews


This page brings together many elements of the guide that are relevant for a researcher completing a systematic review. The elements are presented roughly in the same order as you would need them as part of a systematic review process. 

The steps in this guide have been informed by the PRISMA flow diagrams (see link below)

We've also provided links to the University of South Australia's very comprehensive systematic reviews guide for more information

Creating Groups and Group Sets


Because systematic reviews require you to record the amount of results you are getting from each database you use, it's a good idea to learn how to use groups and group sets. A group set is like a heading under which sub-groups are filed, for example the group set could be named the topic of your research, and the groups below could be named for the database you are using. 

Later, you can run the 'Find Duplicates' function on the group set to locate duplicates across the various databases used in your research

Creating a Group Set

  • Go to Groups > Create Group Set, a new group set will appear under My Groups
  • Give a name to the new Group Set: eg: Systematic Review
  • You can now add groups beneath the group set, named according to the databases you are searching (Medline, Pubmed, Cinahl etc)
  • You can also drag and drop Groups between different Group Sets

Creating a Group

  • Go to Groups > Create Group
  • Give a name to the group

Adding references into a Group

To add a reference or references, select them and then either drag them to the group or right-click on the selected references and choose Add References To.

For more detailed information on groups, see our Using Groups page (linked below)

Downloading Large Amounts of Database Records


UTS Library has prepared a guide showing you how to download large amounts of records from health related databases to EndNote.

For additional information on downloading records from databases, see our Exporting References from Databases page (linked below)

Adding references manually


As part of your systematic review, you may want to collect grey literature, including information from websites. To do this you will have to enter some information into EndNote manually. 

The guide below shows you how to manually enter information into EndNote to make APA 7th references, using the library's APA 7th style. 

If you need to manually input references for a different referencing style, please consult the Adding References Manually page, or contact the library using the link below.

Deduplicating Results


A key feature of a systematic review is removing duplicate papers that have been found in the various databases you are using. This deduplication can be done in EndNote either on a paper-by-paper basis or all at once.

Ideally it is recommended to deduplicate on a paper by paper basis as you can select the record with the best data (ie: a record with a DOI number), but if the amount of references in your initial search prevents this, you can delete all at once. Both methods are detailed below:

Deduplicating Paper-by-paper

  • Select where you want to find duplicates, e.g.: All References, or a Group or Group Set.
  • Go to Library > Find Duplicates
  • EndNote will present you two references at a time to compare. Any fields which are different in the two records will be highlighted.
  • Decide which to keep and click the Keep This Record button. The other record will be moved to the Trash folder.

Side by side comparison of duplicate references, press 'Keep this record' button to select the one you prefer


Deduplicating All at Once

If you have a large number of duplicates and don't want to go through them one by one, you can highlight and delete all the duplicates at once. To do this, simply click Cancel in the Find Duplicates window.

To auto-select duplicates for discard, press the Cancel button to close the comparison window. EndNote will then auto-select duplicates for discarding

The window will close, and a temporary folder named Duplicate References will be created. You will now see all the Duplicate References highlighted in green in your EndNote library.

You can now go to References > Move References to Trash to move the highlighted references.

Exporting from EndNote to Screening Software


After you have deduplicated your results, you will need to screen the remaining papers for suitability at the abstract level. To facilitate this, researchers often export their results to screening softwares like Covidence. 

To export from EndNote to Covidence follow these steps or watch the video below:

1. Highlight the references you wish to export from your EndNote library. If you want to select all of them, be sure to do select all in your EndNote library before exporting.

2. Click on File>Export

3. Select your file type and export style. 
You can export to RIS or XML. Both should work with Covidence

  • To export to RIS, select "Text only" under "Save file as type" and "RefMan (RIS) Export" under "Output Style"
  • To export to XML, select "XML" under "save file as type" and then select your choice of output style. 

4, Click Save

Exporting from screening software back to EndNote


Once you have screened the papers you've selected at the abstract level, you will then need to find the full text of the papers remaining and read those before screening again. EndNote can facilitate the finding of full text, so researchers will often take their screened results from a service like Covidence and export them back into EndNote for this reason.

To export from Covidence to EndNote

1. (Covidence) Dashboard>export 

2. Choose Full Text review from Category, and EndNote as referencing manager, then click on export. A RIS file will be created. 

3. Go back to EndNote and create a new Group Set with a name of Full Text Review, and a new group under Full Text Review 

4. Download data, and import to EndNote, then add the references into the new group 

5. Create a backup after importing and include Full Text Review into the file name 

Finding Full Text


Find Full Text searches UTS Library databases (and the web more generally) for PDFs of the articles in your EndNote library. You are restricted to searching for 250 full text records at a time.

Setting Find Full Text Preferences

  • Select Edit (EndNote on a Mac) > Preferences > Find Full Text
  • Select Find Full Text from the list of preferences on the left of the preferences window.
  • In the Open URL Path box, type or copy:
  • In the Authenticate with URL box, type or copy:
  • The Automatically invoke Find Full Text on newly-imported references box can be left off if you want the fastest performance for EndNote and your computer.
  • Deselect Automatically invoke Find Full Text for faster performance
  • Click OK to save

Running Find Full Text

  • Select one or more references in your EndNote library, and click the Find Full Text button (or right click and choose Find Full Text)
    FInd full text button
  • Login with your UTS ID and password, then click continue
  • EndNote will start to search for full text. If the full text is available on open access or from one of our subscribed databases, the PDF will attach to the article
  • Note that this only works for articles, not generally for books or book chapters
  • Sometimes a link to online text is added to the reference when the PDF version of the text is not available. These links may not always work!
  • You’ll notice that it takes a few seconds per reference to search for full text so be prepared to wait
  • The presence of an attachment is indicated by a paperclip symbol in the far left column of your EndNote library
    Paper clip icon
  • You can view the attached pdf in the summary pane on the right.

If the full text is not found in this way, then you can manually check if it's available from the library collection:

  • Select article you want to check, go to References > URL > OpenURL Link
  • If the full text available, you will get links from databases. Click on the link to locate the article full text.
  • If the full text is not available, you can sign in to check if there are additional request options, e.g. InterLibrary Loans.

Saving a Compressed Library


At various stages along the way in your systematic review, it's a good idea to archive your work by making a backup library. Making a compressed library is a good idea because it keeps both the references and the groups (and attachments, if applicable) in your library together in one file.

To create a compressed library in EndNote do File > Compressed Library.

More information can be found via our Creating and Backing Up LIbraries page (linked below)

Sharing Libraries


A key feature of systematic reviews is working with a team. To facilitate the review process with different team members, sharing a group from your EndNote library may prove useful (EndNote prefers to share at the group, rather than at the library level)..

If you want to share your references. you will need EndNote Web (Also called EndNote Online). To learn how to sign up for EndNote Web/EndNote Online, please see our EndNote Online page linked below.

A word of caution about this: Sharing an EndNote group requires your EndNote library to synch with your EndNote Online library first. This may prove disastrous to your research if your EndNote Online library contains references that have nothing to do with your Systematic review work. 

So, if you want to share with a colleague:

  • Ensure your EndNote online account has been wiped of all references and groups first
  • Or, don't use Endnote online and instead send your collaborator a compressed library (see box above for the method)

Sharing your Library with others

  • Set up your EndNote online account and fully sync your library.
  • In EndNote, use the Share button (pictured below), or select File > Share, Log in to your EndNote online account if you have not already done so, and enter the email addresses of the people you want to collaborate with. These don't need to be UTS addresses, but they must be the email addresses your collaborators use for their own EndNote online accounts.
  • You can choose the level of access (read only, edit) for each of your collaborators
    Share button

Using a Library someone has shared with you.

  • NOTE: Again, proceed with caution here if you have materials in your EndNote Online account that are not to do with your Systematic review as your EndNote desktop will sync with your online references when the library is shared with you. To be safe, clear out your EndNote online account before accepting the shared library, or ask your collaborator to send you a compressed library version. 
  • Sync your EndNote library, logging into EndNote online if necessary.
  • Once connected, select File > Open Shared Library.
  • Also NOTE that full text attachments will not come over with a shared library