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Systematic Reviews

Citation Management Background

Citation Management 

A citation management program will save you a lot of time when doing your systematic review.  Programs like RefWorks, Zotero or Mendeley will store and organize the citations collected during your screening, de-duplicate the results and automatically format in-text citations and bibliographies in your manuscript.

You may download Zotero and Mendeley for free, while RefWorks is freely available to all UC students, faculty and staff.

Citation Management Tips

Citation Management Tips

Once you've finished translating your search strategy to the syntax of each database you're searching, you will then: 

1. Run the search in each database.

2. Export the results as a BibTeX, MEDLINE, RIS, or XML file and save those files.

3. Import those files into a citation management program.


Exporting Citations from PubMed to RefWorks

1. In your search results, click “Send to” in the upper right corner of the page, then “File”.

2. Under “Format” select “MEDLINE” and “Create File”.

3. Save the MEDLINE.txt file to your desktop.

4. In RefWorks, go to "+Add" and then "Import references”;  then select “Import Option – PubMed (NLM)” and drag in the MEDLINE file from your desktop.



You will likely retrieve multiple versions of the same study as you search many databases and will need to de-duplicate your results before article screening. After you've performed your searches and imported the results into your citation management software:

  • In RefWorks, from the menu select Tools-> "Find Duplicates".  One or more instances of each duplicate records will be selected automatically, allowing for quick deletion of all duplicate items.
  • In Zotero, click on the "Duplicate Items" collection in your library. You can resolve duplicates by merging the files. 
  • In Mendeley, select your folder of interest. Go to your Tools menu and select "Check for Duplicates". Select the details that you would like to keep from each of the documents. Click merge to create one entry containing the complete document details.