Vancouver Citing & Referencing style

Quick reference guide

Vancouver Citing & Referencing style

Vancouver is a numbered referencing style commonly used in medicine and science, and consists of:

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  • citations to someone else’s work in the text, indicated by the use of a number
  • a sequentially numbered reference list at the end of the document providing full details of the corresponding in-text reference

It follows rules established by the International committee of Medical Journal Editors, now maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It is also known as Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts submitted to Biomedical Journals.

Before using this guide check with your faculty, school or department for their specific referencing guidelines In-text citations

  • Insert an in-text citation:  o       when your work has been influenced by someone else’s work, for example: 
    • when you directly quote someone else’s work
    • when you paraphrase someone else’s work
  • General rules of in-text citation:  o        A number is allocated to a source in the order in which it is cited in the text. If the source is referred to again, the same number is used.
    • Use Arabic numerals (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9)
    • Either square [ ] or curved brackets ( ) can be used as long as it is consistent. Please check with your faculty/lecturer to see if they have a preference. For consistency in this guide we have chosen to use round brackets for our examples
    • Superscripts can also be used rather than brackets eg. …was discovered. 1,3 o   Reference numbers should be inserted to the left or inside of colons and semi-colons.
    • Reference numbers are generally placed outside or after full stops and commas – however check with your faculty/journal publisher to determine their preference. For consistency in this guide we are placing reference numbers after full stops.
    • Whatever format is chosen, it is important that the punctuation is consistently applied to the whole document.

Multiple works by the same author:

Each individual work by the same author, even if it is published in the same year, has its own reference number.

Citing secondary sources:

A secondary source, or indirect citation, occurs when the ideas on one author are published in another author’s work, and you have not accessed or read the original piece of work. Cite the author of the work you have read and also include this source in your reference list.

In-text citation examples

The in-text citation is placed immediately after the text which refers to the source being cited:

Using round brackets:

…as one author has put it “the darkest days were still ahead”.(1) Using square brackets:

…as one author has put it “the darkest days were still ahead”.[1] Using superscript:

…as one author has put it “the darkest days were still ahead”.1

The author’s name can also be integrated into the text

Scholtz 1 has argued that…

Including page numbers with in-text citations:

Page numbers are not usually included with the citation number. However should you wish to specify the page number of the source the page/s should be included in the following format:

…as one author has put it “the darkest days were still ahead”.1(p23) …as one author has put it “the darkest days were still ahead”.(1 p23)

Scholtz (1 p16-18) has argued that…

Citing more than one reference at a time:

The preferred method is to list each reference number separated by a comma, or by a dash for a sequence of consecutive numbers. There should be no spaces between commas or dashes For example:   (1,5,6-8)

Reference List     

  • References are listed in numerical order, and in the same order in which they are cited in text. The reference list appears at the end of the paper.
  • Begin your reference list on a new page and title it ‘References.’
  • The reference list should include all and only those references you have cited in the text. (However, do not include unpublished items such as correspondence).
  • Use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).
  • Abbreviate journal titles in the style used in the NLM Catalog
  • Check the reference details against the actual source – you are indicating that you have read a source when you cite it.
  • Be consistent with your referencing style across the document.
  • For additional information you may wish to consult Citing Medicine, 2nd ed.

Scholarly journal articles 

  • Follow these examples closely for all layout, punctuation, spacing and capitalization. These general rules apply to both print and electronic articles.
  • Enter author’s surname followed by no more than 2 initials (full stop).
  • If more than 1 author: give all authors’ names and separate each by a comma and a space.
  • For articles with 1 to 6 authors, list all authors. For articles with more than 6 authors,  list the first 6 authors then add ‘et al.’
  • Only the first word of the article title and words that normally begin with a capital letter are capitalized.
  • Journal titles are abbreviated (to decipher/find correct abbreviations see: PubMed Journals Database  Follow the date with a semi-colon;
  • Abbreviate months to their first 3 letters (no full stop)
  • Give the volume number (no space) followed by issue number in brackets
  • If the journal has continuous page numbering through its volumes, omit month/issue number.
  • Abbreviate page numbers where possible, eg: 123-29.

 Digital Object Identification (DOI) and URLs

The digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique identifier, and should be provided in the reference where it is available. This alphanumeric string is usually located on the first page with other referencing elements in the article. More recent electronic journal articles will be displayed as permanent URL’s. They will look something like this – http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0024996. Both formats are acceptable, use the form as it appears in your source.

Print articles

Article with 1 to 6 authorsAuthor AA, Author BB, Author CC, Author DD. Title of article. Abbreviated title of journal. Date of publication YYYY Mon DD;volume number(issue number):page numbers.
 Petitti DB, Crooks VC, Buckwalter JG, Chiu V. Blood pressure levels before dementia. Arch Neurol. 2005 Jan;62(1):112-6.
Article with more than 6 authorsAuthor AA, Author BB, Author CC, Author DD, Author EE, Author FF, et al. Title of article. Abbreviated title of journal. Date of publication YYYY Mon DD;volume number(issue number):page numbers.
 Hallal AH, Amortegui JD, Jeroukhimov IM, Casillas J, Schulman CI, Manning RJ, et al. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography accurately detects common bile duct stones in resolving gallstone pancreatitis. J Am Coll Surg. 2005 Jun;200(6):869-75.

Electronic journal articles

  • The word [Internet] in square brackets should be inserted after the abbreviated journal title.
  • The date cited [in square brackets] must be included after the date of publication.      The URL (web address) must be included at the end of the reference.
  • For electronic journal articles with a DOI, include the DOI (digital object identifier)at the end of the reference, after the URL
Electronic journal articleAuthor AA, Author BB. Title of article. Abbreviated title of Journal [Internet]. Date of publication YYYY MM [cited YYYY Mon DD];volume number(issue number):page numbers. Available from: URL
 Stockhausen L, Turale S. An explorative study of Australian nursing scholars and contemporary scholarship. J Nurs Scholarsh [Internet]. 2011 Mar [cited 2013 Feb 19];43(1):89-96. Available from: http://search.proquest.com. ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/ docview/858241255?accountid=12528
Electronic journal article with DOIAuthor AA, Author BB, Author CC, Author DD, Author EE, Author FF. Title of article. Abbreviated title of Journal [Internet]. Year of publication [cited YYYY Mon DD];volume number(issue number):page numbers. Available from: URL DOI
 Kanneganti P, Harris JD, Brophy RH, Carey JL, Lattermann C, Flanigan DC. The effect of smoking on ligament and cartilage surgery in the knee: a systematic review. Am J Sports Med [Internet]. 2012 Dec [cited 2013 Feb 19];40(12):2872-8. Available from: http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/40/12/2872 DOI: 10.1177/0363546512458223

Books and book chapters 

  • Follow these examples closely for all layout, punctuation, spacing and capitalization.
  • Enter author’s surname, followed by no more than 2 initials.
  • Give all authors’ names and separate each by a comma and a space.
  • Enter all authors’ names in the order in which they appear in the original source.
  • Only the first word of the article title and words that normally begin with a capital letter are capitalized.
  • For book chapters abbreviate page numbers to p. eg p. 12-25. Where appropriate abbreviate thus: p. 122-8.
  • For electronic books include the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) if it is given and place it after the URL (web address).
  • Abbreviate months to their first 3 letters
  • The formats for Tables and Figures (see below) can also be applied to charts, photographs, graphs etc.  For more detailed information go to: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/citingmedicine
Book :  Print book OR Electronic book  Author AA. Title of book. # edition [if not first]. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year of publication. Pagination. Author AA. Title of web page [Internet]. Place of Publication: Sponsor of Website/Publisher; Year published [cited YYYY Mon DD]. Number of pages. Available from: URL DOI: (if available)
 Carlson BM. Human embryology and developmental biology. 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2009. 541 p.   Shreeve DF. Reactive attachment disorder: a case-based approach [Internet]. New York: Springer; 2012 [cited 2012 Nov 2]. 85 p. Available from:
 http://ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/ login?url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-46141647-0
Chapter : a. ) in an edited  book OR b.) in an edited electronic bookAuthor AA, Author BB. Title of chapter. In: Editor AA, Editor BB, editors. Title of book. # edition. Place of Publication: Publisher; Year of publication. p. [page numbers of chapter].   Author AA, Author BB. Title of chapter. In: Editor AA, Editor BB, editors. Title of the book [Internet]. Place of publication: Publisher’s name; Year of publication. [cited YYYY Mon DD]. p. #. [page or chapter number/s]. Available from: URL DOI [if available]   
 Blaxter PS, Farnsworth TP. Social health and class inequalities. In: Carter C, Peel JR, editors. Equalities and inequalities in health. 2nd ed. London: Academic Press; 1976. p. 165-78. Halpen-Felsher BL, Morrell HE. Preventing and reducing tobacco use. In: Berlan ED, Bravender T, editors. Adolescent medicine today: a guide to caring for the adolescent patient [Internet]. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co.; 2012 [cited 2012 Nov 3]. Chapter 18. Available from: http://www.worldscientific.com/ doi/pdf/10.1142/9789814324496_0018

Government and other reports

  • Follow these examples closely for all layout, punctuation, spacing and capitalization.
  • Enter author’s surname, followed by no more than 2 initials.  Give all authors and separate each by a comma and a space.
  • Where the author is an organisation, quote the full name of the organisation, omitting the word “The” if preceding the name. Follow the name with the country of origin in parenthesis ( ) using only the two letter country code. See Appendix D of Citing Medicine.
  • Where an author and organisation are cited, use the author’s name. Add the organisation’s name at your discretion.
  • If there are no authors, only editors, list all editors, followed by a comma and the word editor(s)
  • Only the first word of the article title and words that normally begin with a capital letter are capitalized.
  • The place of publication is the city in which the report was published. For US and Canadian cities follow with the two letter state code in Appendix E of Citing Medicine for all other cities us the two letter country code in Appendix D of Citing Medicine
  • Include page numbers in an abbreviated format. e.g.: p. 12-25. Where appropriate abbreviate e.g. p. 241-8  For electronic reports include the DOI if it is given and place it after the URL.
  • Abbreviate months to their first 3 letters
Government reportsAuthor AA, Author BB. Title of report. Place of publication: Publisher; Date of publication. Total number of pages.  Report No.:
 Rowe IL, Carson NE. Medical manpower in Victoria. East Bentleigh (AU): Monash University, Department of Community Practice; 1981. 35 p. Report No.: 4.

Dictionaries and encyclopaedias

  • Follow these examples closely for all layout, punctuation, spacing and capitalization.
  • Include the DOI at the end of the reference if it is available.
Article from online reference work Title of encyclopedia [Internet]. Place of publication: Publisher; year. Title of article; [updated YYYY Mon DD; cited YYYY Mon DD]; [# of pages/screens]. Available from: URL
  A.D.A.M. medical encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M., Inc.; c2005. Ear barotrauma; [updated 2006 Oct 20; cited 2006 Nov 16]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001064.htm
Article from electronic drug guideTitle of work [Internet]. Place of publication: Publisher/Website; year. Name of drug: [revision/review date; cited YYY Mon DD]; [# of pages/screens]. Available from: URL
 AHFS consumer medication Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.; ©2008. Protriptyline; [revised 2007 Aug 1; reviewed 2007 Aug 1; cited 2008 Oct 2]; [about 5 p.]. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a604025.html

Audio visual media

 DVD’sAuthor A. Title [Format]. Place of publication: Publisher; year of publication. Item description.
 Subbarao M. Tough cases in carotid stenting [DVD]. Woodbury (CT): Cine-Med, Inc.; 2003. 1 DVD: sound, color, 4 3/4 in.
Video file e.g Web streaming vdieoAuthor, A. Title [format]. Place of publication: publisher; date of publication [date it was viewed]. Available from: website address
 Silverstein O. Mothers and sons: the crucial connection [web streaming video]. Hanover (USA): Microtraining Associates; 2005 [cited 2010 May 27]. Available from: http://ctiv.alexanderstreet.com/View/536289

From the Internet 

  • Follow these examples closely for all layout, punctuation, spacing and capitalization    Author names should be listed in the order they appear on the site.
  • Reproduce the title of a homepage as closely as possible to the wording on the screen
  • Place the word Internet in square brackets following the title (and content type if present)
  • Place of publication is defined as the city where the homepage is published. If place, publisher, date unknown use [place unknown], for example.
  • Publisher is defined as the individual or organization issuing the homepage.
  • Use the date of publication as the date the page was first published on the internet, always give the year.
  • Date of up-date/revision – Always give the year and include the date/month, if provided, after the year.
  • Include the date that you saw the page on the internet.
  • Begin with the phrase “Available from”. Insert the URL in its entirety. End with a period only if the URL ends with a slash, otherwise end with no punctuation
  • For a more detailed guide to referencing website information please consult:
  • Patrias K. Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers [Internet]. 2nd ed. Wendling DL, technical editor. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007 [updated 2009 Oct 21; cited 2010 Jan 8]. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/citingmedicine
Web page: homepage part of website Author/organization’s name. Title of the page [Internet]. Place of publication: Publisher’s name; Date or year of publication [updated yr month day; cited yr month day]. Available from: URL Title of the homepage [Internet]. Place of publication: Publisher’s name; Date or year of publication. Title of specific page/part; Date of publication of part [Date cited of part]; [location or pagination of part]. Available from: URL
 Diabetes Australia. Diabetes globally [Internet]. Canberra ACT: Diabetes Australia; 2012 [updated 2012 June 15; cited 2012 Nov 5]. Available from: http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/en/ Understanding-Diabetes/Diabetes- Globally/ Australian Medical Association [Internet]. Barton ACT: AMA; c1995-2012. Junior doctors and medical students call for urgent solution to medical training crisis; 2012 Oct 22 [cited 2012 Nov 5]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://ama.com.au/media/junior-doctors -and-medical-students-call-urgentsolution-medical-training-crisis
Image from webNote: If the title of the image is not shown construct a title that describes the image shown. Use enough words to make the constructed title meaningful. Place the constructed title in square brackets.   Author or organization. Title [Image on internet]. Place of publication: Publisher’s name; date of publication [date cited]. Available from: URL
 Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles on face. [Image on internet]. 2011 [updated 2011 Jan 10; cited 2012 Nov 6]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/photos.html

University course materials

Note: Not all lecturers approve the citation of unit materials, such as lecture slides, in assignments. Check with your lecturer first to see if these resources are acceptable

Lecture notes on MoodleAuthor, A.A.  Title of lecture [format]. Place of Publication: Publisher; Date of Publication [Date cited]. Available from: ‘website address’
 Cloe, J. The normal distribution [Lecture notes on internet]. Melbourne: Monash University, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; 2012 [cited 2012 Jun 26]. Available from:  http://moodle.vle.monash.edu.au
Custom textbook or unit readerAuthor, A.A. Title of article. Publication details including original pages. Reprinted in: Smith, B editor, Title of course material. Place of publication: Publisher; Year of publication.
 Shaffer, E, Brenner J. International trade agreements: hazards to health? International Journal of Health Services. 2004;34(3):467-481. Reprinted in: BTW3201 International Trade Law course materials 2011. Melbourne: Monash University; 2011.

Sample reference list

References

  1. O’Campo P, Dunn JR, editors. Rethinking social epidemiology: towards a science of change. Dordrecht: Springer; 2012. 348 p.
  2. Schiraldi GR. Post-traumatic stress disorder sourcebook: a guide to healing, recovery, and growth [Internet]. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2000 [cited 2006 Nov 6]. 446 p. Available from: http://books.mcgrawhill.com/getbook.php?isbn=0071393722&template=#toc DOI: 10.1036/0737302658
  3. Halpen-Felsher BL, Morrell HE. Preventing and reducing tobacco use. In: Berlan ED, Bravender T, editors. Adolescent medicine today: a guide to caring for the adolescent patient [Internet]. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co.; 2012 [cited 2012 Nov 3]. Chapter 18. Available from: http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/pdf/10.1142/9789814324496_0018
  4. Stockhausen L, Turale S. An explorative study of Australian nursing scholars and contemporary scholarship. J Nurs Scholarsh [Internet]. 2011 Mar [cited 2013 Feb 19];43(1):89-96. Available from:
http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/docview/858241255?accountid=12528
  • Kanneganti P, Harris JD, Brophy RH, Carey JL, Lattermann C, Flanigan DC. The effect of smoking on ligament and cartilage surgery in the knee: a systematic review. Am J Sports Med [Internet]. 2012 Dec [cited 2013 Feb 19];40(12):2872-8. Available from: http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/40/12/2872 DOI:

10.1177/0363546512458223

  • Subbarao M. Tough cases in carotid stenting [DVD]. Woodbury (CT): Cine-Med, Inc.; 2003. 1 DVD: sound, color, 4 3/4 in.
  • Stem cells in the brain [television broadcast]. Catalyst. Sydney: ABC; 2009 Jun 25.

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