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Systematic Review (SR) Service: Support Tools

Collaborate with a MSK Reference Librarian to publish your Systematic Review.


  • Covidence - Covidence is a not-for-profit service dedicated to improving the production of systematic reviews so that health decision-making can draw on the best available evidence. This tool is a collaboration between Cochrane and the team of systematic reviewers, designers and software developers that developed the ReGroup and EROS software prototypes with support from The Alfred Hospital, Monash University, National ICT Australia, University College London and Instituto de Effectividad Clinica y Sanitaria. View a selection of YouTube Covidence videos to learn how to use this resource. Topics covered include citation screening, full text review, and more.  You can also read a 2014 Product Review from the Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association. Note:  Anyone can trial Covidence to see how this resource supports the systematic review process.  There is no charge for one free review for two reviewers.  Cost are now associated with this product.  If you have trialed this product, please contact Donna Gibson  to share your feedback about pursuing an institutional subscription.
  • Rayyan - An application developed at Qatar Computing Research Institute which aids systematic review authors in performing their research in a quick and easy fashion. Authors can collaborate together to determine papers that will be included/excluded and label articles. There is no cost associated with this tool.


  • AMSTAR - Acronym stands for A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews.


  • ROBIS -  Tool for assessing the risk of bias in systematic reviews (rather than in primary studies) and is currently aimed at four broad categories of reviews mainly within healthcare settings: interventions, diagnosis, prognosis and aetiology. The target audience for this tool is primarily guideline developers, authors of overviews of systematic reviews (“reviews of reviews”) and review authors who might want to assess or avoid risk of bias in their reviews.tool designed specifically to assess the risk of bias in systematic reviews.  To learn more about this resource, review the 2016 publication in the Journal of Epidemiology entitled "ROBIS: A new tool to assess risk of bias in systematic reviews was developed."

Critical Appraisal

  • CASP - Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. This resource is produced by Solutions for Public Health (SPH), a not-for-profit NHS public health organisation in the UK.  Product strength is that it provides a different evaluation tool for different types of research studies, which is important since search results will usually have a variety of study types.
  • CATmaker - A computer-assisted critical appraisal open source tool which helps you create critically appraised topics for key articles you encounter about Therapy, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Aetiology/Harm, and Systematic Reviews of Therapy.
  • Centre for Evidence Based Medicine: Critical Appraisal Sheets - Established in Oxford as the first of several UK centres with the aim of promoting evidence-based health care.
  • CONSORT - The main product of this resource is the consort statement, which is an evidence-based, minimum set of recommendations for reporting randomized trials. It offers a standard way for authors to prepare reports of trial findings, facilitating their complete and transparent reporting, and aiding their critical appraisal and interpretation.
  • Downs' and Black's Critical Appraisal Tool - Provides both an overall score for study quality and a numeric score out of a possible 30 points. Contains five sections. Administration of the tool can happen either within a systematic review process, or as a quality assessment tool for individual articles.
  • The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) for assessing the quality of nonrandomized studies in meta-analyses - Ongoing collaboration between the Universities of Newcastle, Australia and Ottawa, Canada. This scale was developed to assess the quality of nonrandomised studies with its design, content and ease of use directed to the task of incorporating the quality assessments in the interpretation of meta-analytic results.
  • Pragmatic Explanatory Continuum Indicator Summary (PRECIS) - Tool to help researchers/clinicians in making decisions that are consistent with their trial’s stated purpose (validated).