Streamlined systematic review: Covidence and its new eligibility criteria feature supporting the PICOS framework

Systematic review is a method of analysis based on a comprehensive pool data, preferably using exactly comparable research studies [1]. It promotes evidence-based decision making through making maximum use of the best available evidence from all available sources.

Subscribed by the Libraries, Covidence is a systematic review management tool helping students and researchers with the following tasks at each stage of the systematic review process.

  • Import citations

Users can import references into the shared platform, which works with EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley or other reference management tools that support RIS or PubMed formats.

  • Screen titles & abstracts

Screening is made faster with features such as keyword highlighting. Covidence keeps full records of who voted and supports single or dual screeners.

  • Screen full text

Users review the full-text of references and decide whether they are relevant and should be included in the analysis. With Covidence, reasons for exclusion and notes for resolving disagreements can be recorded.

  • Extract data and perform quality assessment

Users can save time and reduce reworks with the flexibility to create custom templates in assessing quality in methodology and extracting data relevant to the research question.

  • Export

Users can export the data in common formats, and proceed to other tasks in the review such as meta-analysis or narrative analysis.

Access Covidence: 

1. Go to and enter the required information to create an account. Register with your HKU email address ( or 

2. You will receive a verification email in your inbox. Accept the verification and sign in to Covidence again. 

Learn how to use Covidence:

Step-by-step guide: (HKU Libraries users only)

Training webinars:

New feature on screening criteria:

Previously, Covidence allowed only two categories: inclusion criteria and exclusion criteria. In a recent update, Covidence split those two categories into more detailed elements: Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes, and Study Characteristics (PICOS). PICOS is a widely used and supported framework which helps review teams in refining the protocols to ensure clarity before commencing the work.

Note: If you’ve already used the previous version, the existing inclusion/exclusion criteria can still be found under “Other criteria”.

Figure 1: New eligibility criteria with PICOS

You may also click here to learn how to create and manage eligibility criteria in Covidence.


1.            Porta, M., and Last, J.M. (2018). Systematic review. A Dictionary of Public Health.  Oxford University Press.