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Systematic Reviews

About DistillerSR

DistillerSR is a systematic review tool that follows a 5-step process:

Load your references

  • Drag and drop from any reference management software
  • Upload references and full-text documents
  • Search and import references directly from PubMed
  • Automatically archive all searches
  • Full duplicate detection and removal

Create your forms

  • Build forms with skip logic, input validation, automatic calculations, and data propagation
  • Create reusable form libraries

Lay out your workflow and assign reviewers

  • Use any number of forms in any order
  • Assign reviewers to study pages
  • Set custom inclusion/exclusion protocols 
  • Configure keyword highlighting
  • Use boolean filters to branch your study

Monitor and tune your review

  • Monitor real-time study progress (reference progress, reviewer/data conflicts, included/excluded reference counts
  • Monitor the review process (Kappa interrater reliability scoring, reviewer participation reports, track time spent by participants)

Export your results

  • Included/excluded study lists and reports
  • PRISMA flowchart automation
  • Comprehensive data tables
  • Full report customization
  • Single click export to Word, Excel, and reference tools

Request a DistillerSR Project

The Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship has licensed a limited number of DistillerSR projects for the 2020-2021 year.

To request a project account for research or teaching purposes, please email the following information to

  • Principal Investigator or Instructor Name
  • Research Assistant and/or Student Name(s)
  • Project Name
  • Purpose (research and/or teaching)
    • If teaching, please provide the course name/number
  • Estimated project start/end dates

Help & Training


  • Help Forum
  • Submit a Ticket via email
  • Attend weekly Support Office Hours (registration links are sent via email to account holders; email if you cannot find the current registration email)


Frequently Asked Questions

Option 1: Using Distiller Only

  • In PubMed:

    • Conduct your search

    • When you have your desired results, click "Save"

      • Selection: all results

      • Format: PMID

  • In your preferred text editor: 

    • Open the .txt file that was downloaded from PubMed

    • Select all of the PMID #s in the file > copy them

  • In Distiller:

    • In the top-level navigation References > Find and import references

    • Select "from PubMed"

    • Tweak standard options as you see fit

    • In the "Enter PubMed Search" box, paste the PMID #s you copied from the .txt file (note that if you just enter your query you will get an error--simply paste in the PMID #s and nothing else)

    • Click "Run Search"

    • Review the search results to make sure they are what you expect

    • Click "Import References"

Option 2: Using a Citation Manager (e.g., Zotero)

  • In PubMed:

    • Conduct your search

    • When you have your desired results, click "Send to

      • Selection: all results

  • In your preferred citation manager

    • Import the .ris file

    • Review the entries to ensure they are what you expect. Acceptable .ris files for Distiller import meet the following guidelines:

      • The files generated use a standard Tag format (e.g. ID=12345) to organize references and their associated fields.
      • The first Tag for each reference in the file must be TY 
      • It must end with the Tag ER
  • In Distiller:

    • In the top-level navigation References > Find and import references

    • Select "From File"

    • Tweak your standard options as you see fit

    • Click "Import References"


Additional Reading

Extracting References from Other Sources