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Systematic Reviews: Keeping up to date/Alerts

A guide to assist staff and students undertaking systematic reviews

Keeping up to date

Keeping up to date

Once you have conducted your initial searches, you will need to continue to monitor new studies being published. These may not be included in the systematic review once you have started the process of data analysis, but you should be aware of any developments.

The easiest way to do this is to set up search and citation alerts in databases and other information resources where possible. To do this you will need to create personal accounts in each individual resource.

You can set up alerts for:

  • specific search strategies in databases;
  • citations to specific publications or authors;
  • new publications by specific authors;
  • new publications in specific journals


Alerts are an effective means of keeping track of the latest research. Many databases and journals offer free alert services through emails and RSS feeds. Types of alerts include:

  • Database Search Alerts - your search is saved, then regular email alerts will let you know when new records matching your search are added to the database. 
  • Table of Contents (TOC) alert, which provides the table of contents of a newly published issue of a particular journal
  • Citation alerts which let you know when a particular article is cited by a new article

Database Search Alert

Setting up database email alerts mean that you will be informed when new articles are published that relate to your saved search. This enables you to keep up to date with new developments in your area of research.

Generally, you need to set up a personal login in the database. You can then save a search and set up an alert. Just follow the prompts to set up the alert, specifying how often you wish to have an update, etc.

EBSCO databases (for detailed information see instructions on the help pages).

To save your search as an alert from the Alert/Save/Share link:

  • Login under 'Sign In'
  • Run a search and view your search results
  • Click the Alert/Save/Share link and select E-mail Alert from the resulting pop-up menu.
  • Set your alert parameters and click Save Alert.

You can also save a search as an alert from the Search Alert/History window.

Citation Alerts

Citation Alerts will notify you when a work has been cited by a new publication. See Help pages for the database for further information.

Web of Science

In order to create/access My Cited Articles List, you must sign in or register.

Benefits of creating My Cited Articles List:

  • You will receive an e-mail alert each time an article on the list is cited in a new article
  • You will be able to receive an RSS feed to view new articles that cite articles on the list
  • You can add an article to the list from its full record page
  • You will be able to access your selected articles from any computer at the institution


My Alerts: You can receive email notices when new documents are loaded on Scopus. From the My Alerts page, you can create alerts, view the latest results for an alert, edit alerts, and delete alerts. There is no limit on the number of alerts you can create.

Document Citation alerts notify you by email when new documents that cite a specific document are loaded on Scopus. To create a citation alert for a document you are viewing, click the Set alert link in the Cited By box.

Author Citation alerts notify you by email when an author or group of matched authors is cited on Scopus. To create an author citation alert at the Author Details page, click the Set alert link in the Citations section.

Journal Alerts

You can set up an e-mail alert to automatically notify you each time a new issue for a selected journal title is available.

To set up a journal alert in EBSCO:

1. Click the Publications link at the top of the screen.

2. To locate the publication, enter the title in the Browse Publications field and click Browse, or use the A - Z links and left/right arrows to browse through the list of titles.

3. From the journal's Publication Details Screen, click the Alert/Save/Share link, and then click the E-mail Alert link.

4. The Journal Alert window appears, with the Subject and E-mail from address automatically filled in. If you have not already signed into your My EBSCOhost account, do so by clicking the Sign in link.

5. Set your alert parameters and click Save Alert.


  • Before your alert expires, you will be e-mailed and given the opportunity to renew it.
  • To view all available alert parameters, click the Advanced Settings link.

For further information, refer to the database Help pages.

Table of Contents Alerts

A Table of Contents (ToC) service sends you the table of contents each time a new issue of a journal is published.

Alerts can usually be set up from the journal website or from databases such as Current Contents Connect  in Web of Science suite of databases.

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