Import study data from CSV

All new protocols created from 25 April 2023 have study centric data management enabled.

See Should I use study centric data management in my review?


Prepare your files for import

Before importing, structure your data according to the recommended Data extraction templates

The templates are in CSV format. A Comma Separated Values (CSV) file is a plain text file that stores data by delimiting data entries with commas, in an Excel sheet.


Upload reference data before study data

If you want to import the bibliographic references data for included studies, upload the RIS file before importing the CSVs. If you import them afterwards, studies will be duplicated in RevMan. 


Prepare the study information file 

Add one row per study, includes general study information, study characteristics and covariates. 

  • Green box needs to match study IDs across all the import files
  • Red boxes need to match the Covariates within the Review criteria section of RevMan (both covariate name and categories). You don't have to include the covariates to the import, as you can add them manually to the studies after the import (some authors find this easier as covariate names and categories must match exactly for the import to work) 


Covariate names and categories in the CSV must match exactly with those added into RevMan otherwise you will get errors when trying to import the CSV. 


Prepare the study arm information file 

Add one row per arm for each study, includes the arms the studies report to and which intervention they map to. 

  • Green box needs to match study IDs across all the import files
  • Purple box needs to match Interventions within the Review criteria section of RevMan 


Intervention and intervention groupings names in the CSV must match exactly with those added into RevMan otherwise you will get errors when trying to import the CSV. 


Prepare the study results import file 

  • Add one row per arm for each study, includes contrast and arm level result data including calculator input fields. 
  • If you’ve added multiple time points for an outcome, these need to be added into RevMan as separate outcomes.
    • Note: In RevMan, authors need to set up each time point as separate outcomes VS. In Covidence, multiple time points can be added under a single umbrella outcome.

  • Tidy up the outcome names to ensure the same outcomes across studies have the same spellings and align to the outcomes you will be creating analysis for in RevMan.

  • Do not delete columns as it can affect the import.


See the example of a completed study result import file, which includes arm and contrast level data for a dichotomous outcome. For information on the difference between arm and contrast data see ‘Types of study results data’. 

  • Green box needs to match study IDs across all the import files
  • Blue box needs to match Outcomes within the Review criteria section of RevMan
  • Purple box needs to match Interventions within the Review criteria section of RevMan 

We advise one study results sheet per outcome to keep files manageable, or one study results sheet for dichotomous outcomes and one for continuous outcomes.

Tip: As files become large, hiding rows and columns not in use may be helpful. 


Outcome names in the CSV must match exactly with those added into RevMan otherwise you will get errors when trying to import the CSV.


Prepare the risk of bias files 

Note: A review can only use either risk of bias 1 OR risk of bias 2, not a combination of both. See how to Enable Risk of Bias 2.

Add one row per study. Below are examples of completed risk of bias import files for risk of bias 1 and risk of bias 2.  


Risk of bias 1

  • Green box needs to match study IDs across all the import files
  • Blue boxes with Risk of Bias domains need to match Risk of Bias setup within the Review criteria section of RevMan 



Risk of bias 2: 

  • Green box needs to match study IDs across all the import files 
  • Blue box needs to match Outcomes within the Review criteria section of RevMan 
  • Black box needs to match the effect measure in the Study results import sheet 


Import study data

The import allows you to: 

  • Create new studies with their data
  • Update existing studies (if you import new data it overrides the previous versions in RevMan)
  • Import one or more types of data at the same time

Before importing, you will need to remove the yellow explainer row and save each data sheet separately as CSV UTF-8 (in Excel you can pick CSV UTF-8 option when you save).

Note: Make sure you have removed the example data from the file. 


(warning)(grey lightbulb)Excel may use the country setting on your computer to inform how to separate values when saving a CSV file, resulting in the use of other delimiters to separate comma separated values.

If this is the case, you can get help from  this article for PC and from this article from MAC to make sure your values are separated by commas when you save as CSV. 

To import study data, both the advanced features risk of bias 2 and study-centric data must be enabled.

On the Dashboard in the Action panel, click Import study data.


Select Import from CSV and upload files for each type of data you wish to import.

You can import one or more types of data at the same time. RevMan will notify you if the format of the data is incorrect or inconsistent between files. 

Note: The 'Risk of bias Choose file' button is disabled for Rob2 reviews until the corresponding study results file has been uploaded. Risk of bias 2 data cannot be uploaded without importing study data first. 


RevMan will notify you if the format of the data is incorrect or inconsistent between files. If you get errors, you will need to resolve these before you can continue to import.

See Common errors with data import files. 


When you have solved all import validation issues, if any, click Import study data


Confirm import by clicking OK, continue.





RevMan will import your study data and report on which studies were created and/or updated.

Note: A version will be tagged in the history before import, so you can revert to it if necessary.


Common errors with data import files

Error 

Tips 

Import error as the following in the files do not match exactly with what’s setup in RevMan or used across the different import files: 

  • Study ID 
  • Covariate names and category values 
  • Intervention arms 
  • Intervention groupings 
  • Outcomes 
  • Risk of Bias domains 
  • Effect measure for a specific outcome for a study  

When you are preparing your data extraction sheet:

  • Set up the Review criteria in RevMan at the same time, as these will need to match exactly with the data in your files.
  • You can also set up the synthesis PICOs in advance, so that your analyses will be populated when you import your data.
  • Before you import study data, set up the Interventions, Outcomes and Covariates in the Review criteria to match exactly with the data in your files. The data also needs to be in the format provided in the templates for RevMan to be able to import. 

 

Import error as the import files are in the incorrect format. 

Before importing, you will need to remove the yellow explainer row and save each data sheet separately as CSV UTF-8. Note that you should only have your own data, so make sure you have also removed the example data from the file. 

Import error as I import files because of how values are separated in the files.

Excel may use the country setting on your computer to inform how to separate values when saving a CSV file (for example, comma separated values can be separated by other delimiters). If this is the case, you can get help from this article for PC and from this article from MAC to make sure your values are separated by commas when you save as CSV. 

Open the CSV file in Notepad to verify that the data is correctly separated by a comma.

Import error when I import my risk of bias 2 data.

Risk of bias 2 data cannot be uploaded without importing study data first.

When I imported my data I lost the formatting, such as bold and italics. 

At the moment you will not be able to import formatting such as bold and italics for any of the data. 

No errors are found, but import fails "We're having trouble saving your changes > Report problem > Unicode:xxx".

Your CSV file may contain special characters e.g. ()#/<> that RevMan cannot process. Open the CSV file in Notepad to verify if that's the case.