I am currently conducting a systematic review and have finalised my initial extraction. I need to send a list of citations to my co-reviewers so that they can screen the relevant citations.

Does anyone here have any suggestions of the best ways to export citations so that others can conveniently review them, and will also facilitate calculating inter-rater reliability? I was thinking of using excel, but I have no experience here. I am using Mendeley as my citation manager, if this is relevant.

3 Answers 3


Are your co-reviewers using citation manager software as well? You should be able to share a curated list between different types of citation software. For example, Zotero accepts imports from Mendeley, and I would expect the rest of the most popular citation managers to be able to inter-operate in a similar fashion.

  • 1
    That could work, I was thinking excel could be useful as it would be simple to calculate inter-rater reliability (i.e. a column for each reviewer's verdict on accept or not, which could then be easily compared), as well as being a general reference document for all citations. How have you found it going directly through reference managers? Thanks for your response :)
    – Ben-PW
    Dec 1, 2023 at 15:50
  • 1
    You can export from most citation managers to .csv, which can then be converted to Excel. So if you think the next stage of your work would be easier in Excel it should be simple enough to switch from Mendeley.
    – thosphor
    Dec 1, 2023 at 16:23

There's lots of software dedicated to this use case: letting multiple reviewers work on a single systematic review. I don't have much personal experience with such software, but Rayyan might be suitable for your situation: it offers a generous free version with very capable features.

For more options, I refer you to this list copied from University College London:

<start quote>

Software for systematic reviews

A range of software is available for systematic reviews, especially to support screening and data extraction but also for other stages of the process. Specialist systematic review software may also contain functions for machine learning, data-analysis, visualization, and reporting tools. It is also possible to use reference management software or Excel for some of the stages of reviewing.

  • EPPI-Reviewer

    • Developed within the EPPI-Centre, at UCL Institute of Education. While there is a cost to use, there is a reduced fee for single-use reviews (used by students or researchers on small budgets), compared with the costs for a review that can have more than one user. The fees go towards the cost of infrastructure, development, and support of the software. There is also a free trial available.
  • EPPI-Mapper

    • Tool for visualizing ‘maps’ of research evidence.
  • Rayyan

    • Rayyan is freely available software that can be used for the screening process and has other features such as text mining tools.
  • Covidence

    • Covidence has a free trial with a limited number of records and reviewers and then requires an annual subscription. Can be used for screening and to support data extraction.
  • Abstrackr

    • Free open source screening software created by Brown University.
  • Systematic review toolbox

    • A comprehensive list of software to support systematic reviews at a variety of stages. You can also search by the stage of review (e.g., protocol) to find appropriate software.
  • RevMan

    • Software from the Cochrane Collaboration. RevMan Web facilitates the creation of meta-analyses, forest plots, risk-of-bias tables, and other systematic review elements. Free to authors working on Cochrane Reviews; otherwise, a subscription is required.

<end quote>


DOI: https://www.doi.org/

DOI is the most convenient way to share citations. It retrieves documents very quickly using only a web browser. No user account, special software, or fee is required.

It does not help you perform ratings or determine inter-rater reliability. You should use statistical software for that.

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