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Legacy RefWorks upgrade to ProQuest RefWorks

Questions about the upgrade

Please read the below for information regarding the upgrade from Legacy RefWorks to ProQuest RefWorks. These pages will be updated with more information as and when we have it.

If the questions you have aren't answered below and you need additional help: 

What is happening?

Legacy RefWorks, the older form of RefWorks, is being decommissioned on 30 June 2023.

We will upgrading accounts on 20 June 2023.

If you have at least 1 reference in your RefWorks Legacy account AND you logged into it in the past 10 years (since 1st June 2013), you don't need to do anything, your account will be upgraded by us on the 20th June 2023.


I am an alumni, how will this affect my upgrade?

Your account will also be transferred and a ProQuest Refworks account created for you, linked to the email address listed in your Legacy Refworks account. The first time you access the new ProQuest Refworks account you will be asked to update your account, if you change your 'Role' to Alumni you will be able to maintain access, with your personal email account (

If you did not update the email address to a personal, current one in your Legacy RefWorks account you will not get email notification of your new ProQuest RefWorks account so the account will not be available to you. 

  • Before 20 June 2023 you can log in to your Legacy account and change your email address to a personal email you will then be able to access your ProQuest RefWorks account after the institutional upgrade upgrade.
  • After 20 June and Before 30 June 2023, you can still log into Legacy RefWorks, and manually update the email address on that account and then manually upgrading the account to a ProQuest RefWorks account using the Upgrade button in Legacy RefWorks.
  • After the 30 June 2023, please contact RefWorks directly to establish if access can be re-established or data retrieval can be performed for you (

I used a personal email for my Legacy RefWorks account. Will it still upgrade?

Yes.  Users who have used a personal email address in Legacy RefWorks will be asked to update their profile 'role' OR their email address upon first accessing their new ProQuest RefWorks account to show that they are either alumni or current staff/students.

I don't know which email address I used for my Legacy RefWorks account.

Up to June 30 you can still  log in to Legacy RefWorks and see the associated email address.  Click on Update ProfIle to see your account details. 

After 30th June 2023, if you did not change the email address in the Legacy account after creating it, it is likely to be a version of your SHU standard email address.

If you have received an email to your SHU email account, but find you cannot login to ProQuest RefWorks with that email address, then this is probably because your Legacy account used a different version of your SHU email. You can find information about the different versions of the SHU email address here:

Please note: if you used you version of your e-mail address, this may not be recognised by ProQuest RefWorks as a current valid email domain (you may be asked to update it to a valid SHU email address or update your profile). This is because it is  is not for a current system at SHU. Any emails sent to this version is currently still being redirected, however this will not be the case long term. If you have used this version, please alter to another format listed in the link above or if you are due to finish you SHU course soon, alter to a personal e-mail address to maintain access.

I logged in with 'Institutional login' for Legacy RefWorks

Institutional log-in is not available for ProQuest RefWorks at Sheffield Hallam University but you can still access your account.  

Your Legacy account will still have an associated email address. Unless you updated the account information it will be a version of your university email address.

The upgrade will either create a new ProQuest RefWorks account for that email address, or add your Legacy account as a new Project if there is already a ProQuest RefWorks account for that email address. You will also receive a notification to that email address. 

You will be able to perform a password reset on that new account to gain access (if not, please contact RefWorks directly for support). Your ProQuest RefWorks account will no longer be linked to your institutional login.

Will I still have access to Legacy RefWorks after the upgrade?

For a short time, yes.   We are not deactivating your access to Legacy Refworks after the upgrade, and you will have access to it between the upgrade on 20th June 2023 and the decommissioning of the service on 30th June 2023, when access will no longer be available. This is so that you have more chance to upgrade your account or deal with queries, we advise that you DO NOT alter your Legacy RefWorks references and account after upgrade, but move over the ProQuest RefWorks to use this instead.

Folders and customised fields

Your folders and customized user fields will be automatically transferred to your ProQuest RefWorks account in the upgrade.  If you have created a customized referencing style you can import this after the upgrade. 

Folders : The folder structure you have in Legacy RefWorks will be transferred as is to ProQuest RefWorks account/project. Only folders with references in will be copied so empty folders will disappear.

Customised/User Fields: User Fields from Legacy Refworks will also be included in the upgrade and will transfer over as Custom Fields in ProQuest RefWorks

Referencing Styles: If you have created your own referencing styles, you would need to import them directly to ProQuest RefWorks (

What if my Legacy RefWorks account does not meet the criteria for the upgrade.

Logging in before our institutional upgrade will mean you do then meet the criteria for the institutional update, so if you want to be included, login.

However, if you see this after 20th June 2023, but before the 30th of June, you can manually upgrade it yourself either by creating a ProQuest Refworks account or logging into an existing one and adding the account from there, or clicking on the upgrade button on RefWorks.

If you are seeing this after the 30th June 2023, RefWorks are storing account records until 120 days after the system is decommissioned. Please contact them directly ( to arrange retrieving your references from their data store..

How will the upgrade work?

If you have a Legacy Refworks account and also a ProQuest RefWorks account, then the references in the Legacy Refworks account will be transferred/copied into a new Project in your ProQuest RefWorks account as long as the email addresses in both accounts are the same.

If you have a legacy RefWorks account, but do NOT have a ProQuest RefWorks account with a matching email address, a ProQuest RefWorks account will be created for you based on the email address listed in the RefWorks Legacy account and an email detailing the next steps you need to take will be sent to you by Refworks upon the accounts creation.

I have more than one Legacy RefWorks account. What will happen?

ProQuest RefWorks as a feature called Projects.   Each Project in ProQuest RefWorks shares the same login but is otherwise like having separate accounts. 

If you have multiple Legacy RefWorks accounts and they all have the same email address listed in the account, AND you have a ProQuest RefWorks account with the same email address: all references from the legacy accounts will transfer to ProQuest RefWorks account with the same email address. Each Legacy RefWorks account will be transferred onto their own Project in the ProQuest Refworks account. Each Project will be named with the username you used in Legacy Refworks for that account followed by Admin Upgrade.

If you have multiple Legacy RefWorks account with different email addresses on each account AND multiple ProQuest RefWorks accounts with the same email addresses: they will be transferred into a new project for the accounts which have the matching email address in the ProQuest RefWorks account.

If you have multiple Legacy RefWorks accounts, BUT no ProQuest RefWorks accounts: a ProQuest RefWorks account will be created for each email address you have used in the legacy system and, if they have been used on a couple, then all legacy accounts with the same email address will be transferred to the same new ProQuest account with each account going into a different RefWorks Project.

If you have a mix of Legacy RefWorks accounts and ProQuest RefWorks account where some email addresses match and others don't; where they do match, the references on the legacy account will be transferred to the matching ProQuest RefWorks account, and where they don't match, a new account will be created in ProQuest RefWorks for those accounts.

If you have used different versions of your SHU email address, they will all appear in your SHU inbox but will be for different accounts as RefWorks does not recognise them as being connected to the same person.

As a result of the upgrade, you may have more than one Proquest RefWorks account with different email addresses.  Make sure you are logging into the correct account to see your references.

I had a legacy RefWorks account but have not had an email to say that it has been upgraded?

If you have not received an email from Refworks and believe that you should have:

Before 30th June 2023  - Login to Legacy RefWorks, check the profile for the email address used and update if necessary. We also advise that you download an account back up file in RIS or BibText format so that it can be uploaded to another service should you wish to, instructions here:  Yo can then click on the upgrade button in the top right to manually upgrade the account to manually upgrade the account and you should receive a verification email to the access the new account.

After 30th June 2023 - Contact RefWorks support ( directly as only they have access to account information to help you. If you are unsure what email address you have used and you can no longer access your Legacy RefWorks account, but you remember your Legacy Refworks username and password (not your SHU one), then they may be able to help you.

I have already upgraded my RefWorks account. Will this affect me?

You will see another Project for the account after the institutional upgrade,  it will be named with the username you used in Legacy Refworks for that account followed by Admin Upgrade, if you haven't made any changes to the references in your Legacy Refworks account since you performed an upgrade, this can just be deleted. Unfortunately, the method by which we can perform this upgrade does not recognise the difference between you having a ProQuest RefWorks account and you having performed an upgrade and transferring the data to your new account. To prevent data loss, we are upgrading ALL accounts matching the criteria and asking users to just delete the new project that appears if it is a duplicate that it not required.

My account has been upgraded but I don't see references from my Legacy Account in ProQuest RefWorks

The upgrade process works with emails associated with your Legacy RefWorks accounts.   

Before upgrading the process checks for an existing ProQuest RefWorks account that matches the email in the Legacy account. 

  • If an account is found references are added to a Project in that account.   
  • If no account is found a new ProQuest RefWorks account is created for that email. 

Because the university has different formats of email address that go to the same account it is possible that you may now have multiple ProQuest RefWorks accounts.   Either because you had multiple Legacy accounts associated with different email addresses or formats, or because you have created a ProQuest RefWorks account using a different email form your legacy account before the upgrade.  

Logging into ProQuest RefWorks with the email used in your legacy account should allow you to see your references. 

Up to June 30 you can still check your legacy account to see which email is associated with the account.

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Sheffield Hallam University
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