Syras helps you to quickly review and categorise a large body of references. The key experience in this is “screening”, where a user reviews a reference, and categorises it. Providing good ergonomics during this process has been a key focus, considering you’ll spend the vast amount of your time on screening.

The screening options are designed to help you quickly assess thousands of articles. You can rate the relevance or mark each article with “include” and “exclude” to proceed to the next. All other buttons are optional.

Include, Exclude, and Skip

Include – labels an article as being relevant or eligible for further review for the research topic.

Exclude – labels an article as not relevant, or ineligible for further review.

Skip – labels an article as skipped. Skipped articles are returned to at the tail end of rating articles.

“Refs” and “Star” buttons.

"Refs" is a way of marking an article which needs further reference checks. 

Star can be used for your own purposes – making articles which might be of interest for other reasons, or some other reason you’d want to highlight them. 

Both of these checkboxes are stored irrespective of Include/Exclude rating. They’re not used by Syras, but you’ll find them in the exported spreadsheets.


Users can comment on references. Comments are private while you screen, but become openly visible during disagreement reviews.

A comment is saved when the article is rated. Type your comment, and hit "Include" or "Exclude" and it will be saved. Comments can be manually saved when an article has already been rated.

Next unrated article play-head

This button will take you to the next unrated article in your set. Useful for "resuming" where you left off, when you've been reviewing included, excluded, or skipped articles. 

The small arrow to the left of this play-head button will open up the full set of article navigation buttons.

Article Navigation panel

The number field and button will take you to a specific index in your article set - if you really want to be able to refer to an article again, remember it's ID, and you can use this section to come back to it. 

The grey arrows will step through skipped articles, in the order of their index. 

The red arrows will step through excluded articles, in the order of their index.

The green arrows will step through accepted articles, in the order of their index.

Progress Bar

You can see your progress along the top of the screen. When you click on this, you'll be taken to a summary of your screening progress, including a reference list of the articles you have “included”.

Account Settings

Keyboard shortcuts – allows you to drive the screening process by keyboard (e.g. include/exclude). These are fully configurable, per-user and can be turned on/off. Go to Settings in the main navigation to configure your keyboard shortcuts and tool tips.

Tooltips – you can turn on/off the help balloons which mainly annotate the screening page options.

Visual Keyword highlighter - This will highlights relevant and irrelevant words in the articles during screening.