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Scientific Style and Format Citation Quick Guide
Scientific Style and Format presents three systems for referring to references (also known as citations) within the text of a journal article, book, or other scientific publication: 1) citation–sequence; 2) name–year; and 3) citation–name. These abbreviated references are called in-text references. They refer to a list of references at the end of the document.
The system of in-text references that you use will determine the order of references at the end of your document. These end references have essentially the same format in all three systems, except for the placement of the date of publication in the name–year system.
Though Scientific Style and Format now uses citation–sequence for its own references, each system is widely used in scientific publishing. Consult your publisher to determine which system you will need to follow.
Click on the tabs below for more information and to see some common examples of materials cited in each style, including examples of electronic sources. For numerous specific examples, see Chapter 29 of the 8th edition of Scientific Style and Format .
Citation–Sequence and Citation–Name
The following examples illustrate the citation–sequence and citation–name systems. The two systems are identical except for the order of references. In both systems, numbers within the text refer to the end references.
In citation–sequence, the end references are listed in the sequence in which they first appear within the text. For example, if a reference by Smith is the first one mentioned in the text, then the complete reference to the Smith work will be number 1 in the end references. The same number is used for subsequent in-text references to the same document.
In citation–name, the end references are listed alphabetically by author. Multiple works by the same author are listed alphabetically by title. The references are numbered in that sequence, such that a work authored by Adam is number 1, Brown is number 2, and so on. Numbers assigned to the end references are used for the in-text references regardless of the sequence in which they appear in the text of the work. For example, if a work by Zielinski is number 56 in the reference list, each in-text reference to Zielinski will be number 56 also.
List authors in the order in which they appear in the original text, followed by a period. Periods also follow article and journal title and volume or issue information. Separate the date from volume and issue by a semicolon. The location (usually the page range for the article) is preceded by a colon.
Author(s). Article title. Journal title. Date;volume(issue):location.
Journal titles are generally abbreviated according to the List of Title Word Abbreviations maintained by the ISSN International Centre. See Appendix 29.1 in Scientific Style and Format for more information.
For articles with more than 1 author, names are separated by a comma.
Smart N, Fang ZY, Marwick TH. A practical guide to exercise training for heart failure patients. J Card Fail. 2003;9(1):49–58.
For articles with more than 10 authors, list the first 10 followed by “et al.”
Pizzi C, Caraglia M, Cianciulli M, Fabbrocini A, Libroia A, Matano E, Contegiacomo A, Del Prete S, Abbruzzese A, Martignetti A, et al. Low-dose recombinant IL-2 induces psychological changes: monitoring by Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). Anticancer Res. 2002;22(2A):727–732.
Volume with no issue or other subdivision
Laskowski DA. Physical and chemical properties of pyrethroids. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 2002;174:49–170.
Volume with issue and supplement
Gardos G, Cole JO, Haskell D, Marby D, Paine SS, Moore P. The natural history of tardive dyskinesia. J Clin Pharmacol. 1988;8(4 Suppl):31S–37S
Volume with supplement but no issue
Heemskerk J, Tobin AJ, Ravina B. From chemical to drug: neurodegeneration drug screening and the ethics of clinical trials. Nat Neurosci. 2002;5 Suppl:1027–1029.
Multiple issue numbers
Ramstrom O, Bunyapaiboonsri T, Lohmann S, Lehn JM. Chemical biology of dynamic combinatorial libraries. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002;1572(2–3):178–186.
Issue with no volume
Sabatier R. Reorienting health and social services. AIDS STD Health Promot Exch. 1995;(4):1–3.
Separate information about author(s), title, edition, and publication by periods. The basic format is as follows:
Author(s). Title. Edition. Place of publication: publisher; date. Extent. Notes.
Extent can include information about pagination or number of volumes and is considered optional. Notes can include information of interest to the reader, such as language of publication other than English; such notes are optional.
Essential notes provide information about location, such as a URL for online works. See Chapter 29 for more information.
For books with more than 1 author, names are separated by a comma.
Ferrozzi F, Garlaschi G, Bova D. CT of metastases. New York (NY): Springer; 2000.
For books with more than 10 authors, list the first 10 followed by “et al.”
Wenger NK, Sivarajan Froelicher E, Smith LK, Ades PA, Berra K, Blumenthal JA, Certo CME, Dattilo AM, Davis D, DeBusk RF, et al. Cardiac rehabilitation. Rockville (MD): Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (US); 1995.
Organization as author
Advanced Life Support Group. Acute medical emergencies: the practical approach. London (England): BMJ Books; 2001.
Author(s) plus editor(s) or translator(s)
Klarsfeld A, Revah F. The biology of death: origins of mortality. Brady L, translator. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press; 2003.
Luzikov VN. Mitochondrial biogenesis and breakdown. Galkin AV, translator; Roodyn DB, editor. New York (NY): Consultants Bureau; 1985.
Chapter or other part of a book, same author(s)
Gawande A. The checklist manifesto: how to get things right. New York (NY): Metropolitan Books; 2010. Chapter 3, The end of the master builder; p. 48–71.
Chapter or other part of a book, different authors
Rapley R. Recombinant DNA and genetic analysis. In: Wilson K, Walker J, editors. Principles and techniques of biochemistry and molecular biology. 7th ed. New York (NY): Cambridge University Press; 2010. p. 195–262.
Multivolume work as a whole
Alkire LG, editor. Periodical title abbreviations. 16th ed. Detroit (MI): Thompson Gale; 2006. 2 vol. Vol. 1, By abbreviation; vol. 2, By title.
Dissertations and Theses
Lutz M. 1903: American nervousness and the economy of cultural change [dissertation]. [Stanford (CA)]: Stanford University; 1989.
Blanco EE, Meade JC, Richards WD, inventors; Ophthalmic Ventures, assignee. Surgical stapling system. United States patent US 4,969,591. 1990 Nov 13.
Weiss R. Study shows problems in cloning people: researchers find replicating primates will be harder than other mammals. Washington Post (Home Ed.). 2003 Apr 11;Sect. A:12 (col. 1).
Indicate a copyright date with a lowercase “c”.
Johnson D, editor. Surgical techniques in orthopaedics: anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction [DVD]. Rosemont (IL): American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; c2002. 1 DVD.
Websites and Other Online Formats
References to websites and other online formats follow the same general principles as for printed references, with the addition of a date of update/revision (if available) along with an access date and a URL.
Title of Homepage. Edition. Place of publication: publisher; date of publication [date updated; date accessed]. Notes.
If no date of publication can be determined, use a copyright date (if available), preceded by “c”. Include the URL in the notes.
APSnet: plant pathology. St Paul (MN): American Phytopathological Association; c1994–2005 [accessed 2005 Jun 20]. http://www.apsnet.org/.
Online journal article
Author(s) of article. Title of article. Title of journal (edition). Date of publication [date updated; date accessed];volume(issue):location. Notes.
A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) may be included in the notes in addition to a URL, if available:
Savage E, Ramsay M, White J, Beard S, Lawson H, Hunjan R, Brown D. Mumps outbreaks across England and Wales in 2004: observational study. BMJ. 2005 [accessed 2005 May 31];330(7500):1119–1120. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/reprint/330/7500/1119. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7500.1119.
Author(s). Title of book. Edition. Place of publication: publisher; date of publication [date updated; date accessed]. Notes.
Brogden KA, Guthmille JM, editors. Polymicrobial diseases. Washington (DC): ASM Press; 2002 [accessed February 28, 2014]. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2475/.
Author’s name. Title of post [descriptive word]. Title of blog. Date of publication. [accessed date]. URL.
Fogarty M. Formatting titles on Twitter and Facebook [blog]. Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. 2012 Aug 14. [accessed 2012 Oct 19]. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/formatting-titles-on-twitter-and-facebook.aspx.
Forthcoming or Unpublished Material
Not all forthcoming or unpublished sources are suitable for inclusion in reference lists. Check with your publisher if in doubt.
Forthcoming journal article or book
Farley T, Galves A, Dickinson LM, Perez MJ. Stress, coping, and health: a comparison of Mexican immigrants, Mexican-Americans, and non-Hispanic whites. J Immigr Health. Forthcoming 2005 Jul.
Goldstein DS. Adrenaline and the inner world: an introduction to scientific integrative medicine. Baltimore (MD): Johns Hopkins University Press. Forthcoming 2006.
Paper or poster presented at meeting
Unpublished presentations are cited as follows:
Antani S, Long LR, Thoma GR, Lee DJ. Anatomical shape representation in spine x-ray images. Paper presented at: VIIP 2003. Proceedings of the 3rd IASTED International Conference on Visualization, Imaging and Image Processing; 2003 Sep 8–10; Benalmadena, Spain.
Charles L, Gordner R. Analysis of MedlinePlus en Español customer service requests. Poster session presented at: Futuro magnifico! Celebrating our diversity. MLA ’05: Medical Library Association Annual Meeting; 2005 May 14–19; San Antonio, TX.
References to published presentations are cited much like contributions to books, with the addition of information about the date and place of the conference. See Chapter 29 for more information.
References to personal communication are placed in running text rather than as formal end references.
Permission is usually required and should be acknowledged in an “Acknowledgment” or “Notes” section at the end of the document.
. . . and most of these meningiomas proved to be inoperable (2003 letter from RS Grant to me; unreferenced, see “Notes”) while a few were not.
The following examples illustrate the name–year system. In this system (sometimes called the Harvard system), in-text references consist of the surname of the author or authors and the year of publication of the document. End references are unnumbered and appear in alphabetical order by author and year of publication, with multiple works by the same author listed in chronological order.
Each example of an end reference is accompanied here by an example of a corresponding in-text reference. For more details and many more examples, see Chapter 29 of Scientific Style and Format .
For the end reference, list authors in the order in which they appear in the original text. The year of publication follows the author list. Use periods to separate each element, including author(s), date of publication, article and journal title, and volume or issue information. Location (usually the page range for the article) is preceded by a colon.
Author(s). Date. Article title. Journal title. Volume(issue):location.
For the in-text reference, use parentheses and list author(s) by surname followed by year of publication.
For articles with 2 authors, names are separated by a comma in the end reference but by “and” in the in-text reference.
Mazan MR, Hoffman AM. 2001. Effects of aerosolized albuterol on physiologic responses to exercise in standardbreds. Am J Vet Res. 62(11):1812–1817.
(Mazan and Hoffman 2001)
For articles with 3 to 10 authors, list all authors in the end reference; in the in-text reference, list only the first, followed by “et al.”
Smart N, Fang ZY, Marwick TH. 2003. A practical guide to exercise training for heart failure patients. J Card Fail. 9(1):49–58.
(Smart et al. 2003)
For articles with more than 10 authors, list the first 10 in the end reference, followed by “et al.”
Pizzi C, Caraglia M, Cianciulli M, Fabbrocini A, Libroia A, Matano E, Contegiacomo A, Del Prete S, Abbruzzese A, Martignetti A, et al. 2002. Low-dose recombinant IL-2 induces psychological changes: monitoring by Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). Anticancer Res. 22(2A):727–732.
(Pizzi et al. 2002)
Laskowski DA. 2002. Physical and chemical properties of pyrethroids. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 174:49–170.
Gardos G, Cole JO, Haskell D, Marby D, Paine SS, Moore P. 1988. The natural history of tardive dyskinesia. J Clin Pharmacol. 8(4 Suppl):31S–37S.
(Gardos et al. 1988)
Heemskerk J, Tobin AJ, Ravina B. 2002. From chemical to drug: neurodegeneration drug screening and the ethics of clinical trials. Nat Neurosci. 5 Suppl:1027–1029.
(Heemskerk et al. 2002)
Ramstrom O, Bunyapaiboonsri T, Lohmann S, Lehn JM. 2002. Chemical biology of dynamic combinatorial libraries. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1572(2–3):178–186.
(Ramstrom et al. 2002)
Sabatier R. 1995. Reorienting health and social services. AIDS STD Health Promot Exch. (4):1–3.
In the end reference, separate information about author(s), date, title, edition, and publication by periods. The basic format is as follows:
Author(s). Date. Title. Edition. Place of publication: publisher. Extent. Notes.
Extent can include information about pagination or number of volumes and is considered optional. Notes can include information of interest to the reader, such as language of publication other than English; such notes are optional. Essential notes provide information about location, such as a URL for online works. See Chapter 29 for more information.
For books with 2 authors, names are separated by a comma in the end reference but by “and” in the in-text reference.
Leboffe MJ, Pierce BE. 2010. Microbiology: laboratory theory and application. Englewood (CO): Morton Publishing Company.
(Leboffe and Pierce 2010)
For books with 3 to 10 authors, list all authors in the end reference; in the in-text reference, list only the first, followed by “et al.”
Ferrozzi F, Garlaschi G, Bova D. 2000. CT of metastases. New York (NY): Springer.
(Ferrozzi et al. 2000)
For books with more than 10 authors, list the first 10 in the end reference, followed by “et al.”
Wenger NK, Sivarajan Froelicher E, Smith LK, Ades PA, Berra K, Blumenthal JA, Certo CME, Dattilo AM, Davis D, DeBusk RF, et al. 1995. Cardiac rehabilitation. Rockville (MD): Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (US).
(Wenger et al. 1995)
[ALSG] Advanced Life Support Group. 2001. Acute medical emergencies: the practical approach. London (England): BMJ Books.
Klarsfeld A, Revah F. 2003. The biology of death: origins of mortality. Brady L, translator. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press.
Luzikov VN. 1985. Mitochondrial biogenesis and breakdown. Galkin AV, translator; Roodyn DB, editor. New York (NY): Consultants Bureau.
(Klarsfeld and Revah 2003)
Gawande A. 2010. The checklist manifesto: how to get things right. New York (NY): Metropolitan Books. Chapter 3, The end of the master builder; p. 48–71.
Rapley R. 2010. Recombinant DNA and genetic analysis. In: Wilson K, Walker J, editors. Principles and techniques of biochemistry and molecular biology. 7th ed. New York (NY): Cambridge University Press. p. 195–262.
Alkire LG, editor. 2006. Periodical title abbreviations. 16th ed. Detroit (MI): Thompson Gale. 2 vol. Vol. 1, By abbreviation; vol. 2, By title.
Lutz M. 1989. 1903: American nervousness and the economy of cultural change [dissertation]. [Stanford (CA)]: Stanford University.
Blanco EE, Meade JC, Richards WD, inventors; Ophthalmic Ventures, assignee. 1990 Nov 13. Surgical stapling system. United States patent US 4,969,591.
(Blanco et al. 1990)
Weiss R. 2003 Apr 11. Study shows problems in cloning people: researchers find replicating primates will be harder than other mammals. Washington Post (Home Ed.). Sect. A:12 (col. 1).
Johnson D, editor. c2002. Surgical techniques in orthopaedics: anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction [DVD]. Rosemont (IL): American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 1 DVD.
Format for end reference:
Title of Homepage. Date of publication. Edition. Place of publication: publisher; [date updated; date accessed]. Notes.
APSnet: plant pathology online. c1994–2005. St Paul (MN): American Phytopathological Association; [accessed 2005 Jun 20]. http://www.apsnet.org/.
For the in-text reference, include only the first word or two of the title (enough to distinguish it from other titles in the reference list), followed by an ellipsis.
(APSnet . . . c1994–2005)
Author(s) of article. Date of publication. Title of article. Title of journal (edition). [date updated; date accessed];Volume(issue):location. Notes.
Savage E, Ramsay M, White J, Beard S, Lawson H, Hunjan R, Brown D. 2005. Mumps outbreaks across England and Wales in 2004: observational study. BMJ. [accessed 2005 May 31];330(7500):1119–1120. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/reprint/330/7500/1119. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7500.1119.
(Savage et al. 2005)
Author(s). Date of publication. Title of book. Edition. Place of publication: publisher; [date updated; date accessed]. Notes.
Brogden KA, Guthmille JM, editors. 2002. Polymicrobial diseases. Washington (DC): ASM Press; [accessed February 28, 2014]. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2475/.
(Brogden and Guthmille 2002)
Author’s name. Date of publication. Title of post [descriptive word]. Title of blog. [accessed date]. URL.
Fogarty M. 2012 Aug 14. Formatting titles on Twitter and Facebook [blog]. Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. [accessed 2012 Oct 19]. http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/formatting-titles-on-twitter-and-facebook.aspx.
Farley T, Galves A, Dickinson LM, Perez MJ. Forthcoming 2005 Jul. Stress, coping, and health: a comparison of Mexican immigrants, Mexican-Americans, and non-Hispanic whites. J Immigr Health.
(Farley et al. 2005)
Goldstein DS. Forthcoming 2006. Adrenaline and the inner world: an introduction to scientific integrative medicine. Baltimore (MD): Johns Hopkins University Press.
Antani S, Long LR, Thoma GR, Lee DJ. 2003. Anatomical shape representation in spine x-ray images. Paper presented at: VIIP 2003. Proceedings of the 3rd IASTED International Conference on Visualization, Imaging and Image Processing; Benalmadena, Spain.
Charles L, Gordner R. 2005. Analysis of MedlinePlus en Español customer service requests. Poster session presented at: Futuro magnifico! Celebrating our diversity. MLA ’05: Medical Library Association Annual Meeting; San Antonio, TX.
(Atani et al. 2003)
(Charles and Gordner 2005)
References to personal communication are placed in running text rather than as formal end references. Permission is usually required and should be acknowledged in an “Acknowledgment” or “Notes” section at the end of the document.
Scientific Style and Format, 8th Edition text © 2014 by the Council of Science Editors. Scientific Style and Format Online © 2014 by the Council of Science Editors.
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- Indian J Orthop
- v.53(3); May-Jun 2019
Formatting References for Scientific Manuscripts
Srinivas b s kambhampati.
Sri Dhaatri Orthopaedic, Maternity and Gynaecology Center, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India
1 Department of Orthopaedics, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
While references are an essential and integral part of a scientific manuscript, format and style of references are as varied as the number of journals currently present. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors in their latest recommendations for publication, 1 advice authors to quote original references whenever possible. We would recommend the readers to go through these guidelines as they are given in sufficient detail to submit a good set of references including styling. Other resources for citing references include the PubMed section 2 which gives samples of formatting of different reference types and the eBook: Citing Medicine, 3 published by the U. S. National Library of Medicine, which gives assistance and rules to authors, editors, publishers and librarians for formatting of references for different reference types.
References are formatted in two basic styles – the Vancouver style which is numeric (more commonly used in medical journals) and Harvard which uses author-date style (more commonly used in natural and Social sciences journals). 4 Parts and order of the parts cited differ on what the author is citing (reference type) and the journal that is being submitted to. The most common types of references include journal article, book, book section or chapter, dissertation, monograph, and webpage. As an example, for a journal article, the parts of a reference in the sequence include authors, article title, journal title, date of publication, volume, issue, and location/pagination. Each journal has its own modification of the format for each part and the punctuation marks, or their lack of, between the parts. Formatting style in each part of a reference could involve placement of selected punctuation marks, bold and italics enhancements, alphabetical order or sequential ordering of references and style of citing in the text, making the combination of variations that create a unique reference style as large in number as the number of journals currently published. It is not clear why such a system has evolved, but it requires considerable attention to detail to get the formatting correct and is time-consuming for the author. The tradition of the journal has been thought as one of the reasons. 4 In manuscripts submitted for the Indian Journal of Orthopaedics (IJO), the reference section carries the most formatting errors committed by authors.
The advantage of having a constant style within a journal is two-fold, apart from an esthetic appearance of references across all articles published by the journal. Ease of reading the references at the end of each article and ease of finding reference part by the reader if he/she is used to the format and plans to look up the reference. As a student/professional in the medical field, one would require attention to finer details of his/her research work as well as in their clinical practice and hence exercising attention to the references would help improve those skills. Such a wide variation in the styles of references has also benefitted some software companies who deal with reference managers (RMs). Some RMs are free for use, and the authors are advised to use different RMs to see which one suits their needs best. While some RMs are cloud based, others are computer based and do not require an internet connection while some others are cloud and computer based. The variation in the style of references across journals appears unlikely to be standardized to a single universal format in the near future.
The Citation Style Language (CSL) is an XML-based computer language developed to standardize formatting of citations and references in manuscripts submitting to journals. They are text application editable files which are imported into RMs. An increasing number of RMs use CSL to help users format their list of references according to individual journal guidelines. However, not all journals are supported by CSL files.
There are two main repositories for access to CSL files – One by GitHub 5 and the other by Zotero 6 developed by Corporation for Digital Scholarship and Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. These contain more than 8500 styles of references. Authors using Zotero, Mendeley, RefWorks, Papers, CrossRef, Bibliography, and some 42 other RMs can use these CSL files to manage references within them. IJO did not have a CSL file until now in both the repositories. In this scenario, there are a few options for the authors preparing references for a manuscript. First, to type and style references manually which would take a long time and prone to human errors. Second, a CSL file similar to IJO may be selected from the repository and used and later manually edited, if any needed. However, this involves searching for an exact match of style for a journal registered in the repository of CSL files. Third, there are RMs with inbuilt options to format references while citing in the text. This option is independent of CSL. The disadvantage here is that the author is bound by the list of reference styles already loaded within the software. They may not be able to add new formats. Fourth, some RMs allow authors to prepare a style, but this would take some time to prepare if the style is not already inbuilt. As a fifth option, a CSL file that is close to IJO may be chosen, and the code of this file tweaked with minor editing to convert it for use with IJO. To do that, the author must be familiar with programming or editing of HTML/XML files since HTML is a language that is closer to XML.
Zotero's repository 7 website has a user-friendly interface in which such searches are easier to perform. It has 9357 styles stored in the repository at the time of writing this article on March 17, 2019. There are 1924 unique styles through which one can search if their required journal is listed. Zotero draws CSL files from GitHub into their repository. Hence, if a file is created in GitHub, it is drawn into Zotero by default. CSL Project 8 is a website sponsored by four well known RMs. These are Zotero, Mendeley, 9 Papers, 10 and RefWorks. 11 This website gives detailed specifications and documentation of CSL language if one is interested in coding these files. If one is proficient with XML, they can create a style and submit it to the GitHub website for others to benefit. Editing is easier if one uses the Zotero RM as it has an inbuilt option to edit style. It can be done even in other managers or with the use of a standard text editing application in Windows or Mac operating systems. Once a new CSL file is developed, in order to publish it, it has to be validated by CSL validator website 12 and submitted at the GitHub site for accepting into the repository. Even finer details like number of author names before et al. while formatting reference, punctuation marks and their placement, style of each part of the reference and each style of the reference, etc., can be edited accurately.
Once developed, the output of references and citations is remarkably consistent, and too much time need not be directed to editing the punctuation marks and styling of the references and citations while preparing the manuscript. The only hurdle after this would be to get full details of the references reliably and accurately into the RM database while importing the references. The author needs to check that the references were properly imported into the database. If verified, they may be used any number of times with precision. With appropriate selection, the citing as well as the list of references can be formatted according to the journal that is being considered, for submission. Those who are already using RMs may be well aware of the advantages and the time such CSL files can save while preparing a manuscript.
We are happy to inform that a CSL file for IJO has now been created in the GitHub repository 1 and Zotero Styles repository 3 and it can be used by authors using the RMs listed in the CSL website and benefit from its use. The direct link of the file in the repository is given 13 [ Figure 1 ]. Basic users of RMs may download it through their RMs by selecting Indian Journal of Orthopaedics option. Advanced users who know where to place this file may access using the weblink given. Examples of reference style and citation for IJO are given in Figure 2 .
Screenshot of browser shows the web address and search words used to retrieve Citation Style Language file for Indian Journal of Orthopaedics
Examples of format of references and their citation in text for the Indian Journal of Orthopaedics
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Citing Your Sources
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When you use ideas that are not your own, it is important to credit or cite the author(s) or source, even if you do not quote their idea or words exactly as written. Citing your sources allows your reader to identify the works you have consulted and to understand the scope of your research. There are many different citation styles available. You may be required to use a particular style or you may choose one.
One of the commonly used styles is the APA (American Psychological Association) Style.
APA style stipulates that authors use brief references in the text of a work with full bibliographic details supplied in a Reference List (typically at the end of your document). In text, the reference is very brief and usually consists simply of the author's last name and a date.For example:
...Sheep milk has been proved to contain more nutrients than cow milk (Johnson, 2005).
In a Reference list, the reference contains full bibliographic details written in a format that depends on the type of reference. Examples of formats for some common types of references are listed below. For additional information, visit the University of Arkansas libraries webpage on citing your sources . Another useful web-site on this topic is here.
Author last name, Author First Initial. Author Second Initial. (Publication Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume(issue) (if issue numbered), pages.
Bass, M. A., Enochs, W. K., & DiBrezzo, R. (2002). Comparison of two exercise programs on general well-being of college students. Psychological Reports, 91(3), 1195-1201.
Author Last Name, Author First Initial. Author Second Initial. (if there is no author move entry title to first position) (Publication year). Title of article or entry. In Work title. (Vol. number, pp. pages). Place: Publisher.
"Ivory-billed woodpecker." (2002). In The new encyclopædia britannica. (Vol. 5, p. ). 15th ed. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.
Author Last Name, Author First Initial. Author Second Initial. (if there is no author move entry title to first position) (Publication year). Title of article or entry. In Work title. Retrieved from (database name or URL).
Ivory-billed woodpecker. (2006). In Encyclopædia britannica online. Retrieved from http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9043081
Author last name, Author First Initial. Author Second Initial. (Publication Year, Month Day). Title of article. Title of Magazine,volume, pages.
Holloway, M. (2005, August). When extinct isn't. Scientific American, 293, 22-23.
Author last name, Author First Initial. Author Second Initial. (Publication Year, Month Day). Title of article. Title of Magazine. volume, pages. Retrieved from (database name or URL).
Holloway, M. (2005, August). When extinct isn't. Scientific American, 293, 22-23. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
Page Author Last Name, Page Author First Initial. Page Author Second Initial. Page title [nature of work - web site, blog, forum posting, etc.]. (Publication Year). Retrieved from (URL)
Sabo, G., et al. Rock art in Arkansas [Web site]. (2001). Retrieved from http://arkarcheology.uark.edu/rockart/index.html
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In your academic work you will be reading and responding to the work of others. You need to acknowledge this work in your own writing through referencing.
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What is referencing?
Referencing is how you acknowledge the source of the information you have used (referred to) in your work. It helps to make clear to the reader how you have used the work of others to develop your own ideas and arguments.
Whether you are quoting directly from a book, summarising an idea from a journal article, illustrating a point with an image, or paraphrasing an opinion from a newspaper article, you need to give credit to the original creator of the work.
Explore methods for effectively managing information throughout your research.
Sometimes the words used to describe referencing can be confusing, especially as they are often used interchangeably. To keep things simple, here is a quick summary of key referencing terms:
Citation : this is an acknowledgement that you place in your writing at the point you have referred to someone else’s work. It may be in the author-date format (e.g., Jones, 2020) or in numeric format (e.g. .)
Reference : each citation should have a corresponding reference, which provides further details about the source of information you have used. This may include the creator’s name, date of publication, title of the work, publisher details and a URL if accessed online. References are usually placed at the end of your writing in a reference list .
Bibliography : this is another name for the list of references at the end of your document. A reference list usually only contains references for material you have cited in your work. A bibliography may also include references for materials you have read or consulted but not cited.
What do you need to reference?
You need to reference every time you use the work of others. This could include:
- computer code
Whatever the information source: website, textbook, journal article, magazine, newspaper, YouTube Video, or social media site, if you have quoted, paraphrased or summarised another person’s work, you need to reference it.
However, you do not need to reference commonly known facts, for example:
"Newcastle upon Tyne is in the North East of England".
Why do you need to reference?
Referencing is important for the integrity and quality of your academic writing. Here’s why:
- gives authority to your work by showing the breadth of your reading
- shows the reader how you have developed your arguments and engaged with the ideas of others
- enables a reader to see the original sources that you've used; they can follow up on your references so they can learn more about the ideas you’ve discussed in your work or check any facts and figures
- allows others to use your work as a research source (for which you should be cited!)
- makes clear which ideas are your own and those inspired by others; this enables you to avoid plagiarism
The quality of your referencing can affect the marks you’re given for assessments, so it’s worth taking the time to get them right.
How to reference
In a nutshell, referencing is a two-step process. Whenever you refer to another source of information, you need to firstly insert a citation in your text, and secondly, expand on that citation in a full reference at the end of your work.
How you format your citations and references will depend on the referencing style that you use and the type of information you’re referencing.
Referencing styles are a set of instructions. They tell you what information you need to include in your reference, the order that information should appear, and the way it should be formatted in your work.
Referencing styles will provide specific instructions for different information types too, meaning a reference for a book will look different to a reference for a website. Check your programme handbook or ask your module leader which referencing style you should be using.
Cite Them Right Harvard is the most frequently used referencing style at the University, and if your school does not have a preferred style, is the one that we would recommend. You can find out more about Cite Them Right Harvard and other referencing styles, including examples of citations and references, on our Referencing Guide or on Cite Them Right.
Find out more about plagiarism and how to avoid it by quoting and paraphrasing the work of others effectively in your writing.
Explore different referencing styles and referencing examples.
Cite Them Right tutorial
Access a comprehensive guide to referencing different information types in a range of referencing styles including, Harvard, IEEE, APA, OSCOLA and Vancouver.
Keeping track of all your references and making sure you consistently follow your referencing style might seem a little daunting, but there are lots of tools that can help you manage and format your citations and references correctly.
- Look out for cite options on Library Search, Google Scholar and subject databases.
- Generate citations and bibliographies using reference building tools such as Cite This for Me or ZoteroBib.
- Explore reference management software such as EndNote, Mendeley or Zotero.
Whatever tool you use, it’s always a good idea to get to know the conventions of the referencing style, so that you can spot mistakes or missing information. Use guidance from your School, or check examples in Cite Them Right to make sure your references are accurate.
Find out how to access EndNote and set up your own Library of references.
Online and downloadable resources
Top tips to help you manage your referencing effectively. **PDF Download**
Put your knowledge to the test in our referencing quiz. **Online quiz**
Citing generative AI guide
An overview guide to citing ChatGPT and other generative AI tools in different styles. **PDF Download**
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How To Write References for Academic & Scientific Research Papers
How To Write References for Academic and Scientific Research Papers Writing accurate & appropriate references is an essential aspect of preparing a research paper for successful publication, examination or any other kind of serious dissemination or evaluation. This article explains exactly how to write perfect references in two widely used scholarly styles: the parenthetical author–date system recommended by the American Psychological Association (APA) & the sequential numerical or Vancouver system frequently used in the sciences. The post also includes several clear examples of in-text citations & complete bibliographical references formatted in both styles. Neither of these documentation styles is inherently complex, though each does have its characteristic pitfalls, and the utmost accuracy is essential when using either. Accusations of plagiarism or misrepresentation of the work of other scholars can be the unpleasant result if authors are not absolutely correct and scrupulously thorough in providing citations and references when they should to acknowledge the research of others. In addition, publication attempts can prove unsuccessful and grades lower than expected if instructions and guidelines for references are not observed with precision and consistency. The discussion and examples offered below outline exactly how to provide scholarly references for articles and books in one version of an author–date documentation style – APA – and one of a numerical style – Vancouver – but do be aware that various versions of these two basic styles exist, so consulting the guidelines, instructions or manual specific to the research paper you are writing is always imperative before finalising formats for in-text citations and complete references. PhD Thesis Editing Services Writing APA Author–Date References for a Research Paper Writing an accurate and appropriate APA author–date reference is a two-stage process involving 1) the creation of an in-text citation in the main body of the paper and 2) the addition of a complete bibliographical entry about the source in a list of references at the end of the paper.
1. The in-text citation should contain the last name of the author (or last names of the authors if there is more than one) who wrote the article, book or other document followed by the document’s date of publication. This information most frequently appears in parentheses immediately after the statement related to the paper, as in this example: • A recent study of the text presents a similar argument (Wilson & Bond, 2016). Alternatively, the names of the authors or the date of publication can be integrated into the main text, with the remaining information presented in parentheses: • Wilson and Bond present a similar argument in their recent study of the text (2016). • A 2016 examination of the text presents a similar argument (Wilson & Bond). Rewording of the main text is obviously necessary, but the only difference (beyond arrangement) in the citation information itself is that the word ‘and’ is used between the author names in the main text, whereas an ampersand (&) is used between those names when they appear in parentheses. The parentheses can sometimes be eliminated altogether by writing both author names and publication date in the main text: • Wilson and Bond’s 2016 study of the text presents a similar argument. Page numbers can be used for referring to specific information in particular parts of a publication, but they are usually only required in APA style for direct quotations when a passage or other part of a published document is reproduced word for word in a new research paper. In such cases, the page number is separated from the publication date by a comma and preceded by the abbreviation ‘p.’ for ‘page’: • As Wilson and Bond explain, ‘the political reading of the text, even the most personal of its episodes, seems universal until the book falls into a woman’s hands’ (2016, p.88).
When two or more sources are cited in the same set of parentheses, semicolons are used to separate the sources: • Both studies consider the poem in relation to urban culture (Samuel & Watson, 2013; Wilson & Bond, 2016). The normal arrangement when multiple sources are cited in a single set of parentheses is to observe alphabetical order according to the author names, as I have done above (with ‘Samuel’ preceding ‘Wilson’). Notice that the in-text citation takes the same form whether the source cited is a book or an article, with ‘Samuel & Watson’ referring here to a monograph and ‘Wilson & Bond’ to a journal article. PhD Thesis Editing Services 2. Every source cited in the text of an academic or scientific research paper using APA style should also be included in a list that is entitled ‘References’ and presented at the end of the paper. An APA list of references should be arranged alphabetically based on author names, and all the bibliographical information required for readers to find each source must be provided in a specific format. The author names for a publication come first and are inverted, with the last name of the first author of each document opening the bibliographical entry. Author names are followed by the date of publication (in parentheses), with these two pieces of information serving readers by connecting the complete reference to the in-text citation. It is therefore vital that the last names of authors and the publication dates provided in both places are checked against each other for errors and inconsistencies and then carefully corrected to agree with precision.
For the complete reference to a journal article, the title of the article follows the date of publication. The name and volume number of the journal come next, both of them in italic font, though do be aware that special fonts may not be displayed in this post. The pages on which the article can be found come next, and if there is a doi or url for an online version of the paper, that should be the last item in the entry, which would take this form: • Wilson, S., & Bond, F. (2016). Political and personal readings of the earliest zone poem. Urban Poetry, 12, 72–94. doi:00.0000/00000000000000 For the complete reference to a book, the information, and thus the format, is a little different. The title of the book follows the publication date and appears in italic font, with the place of publication and publisher’s name completing the reference: • Samuel, H., & Watson, M. (2013). Political poetry and modern urbanity. London: Big City Press.
Writing Sequential Numerical References for a Research Paper The same two-step process is necessary when writing the sequential numerical references used for Vancouver style documentation, but in-text citations are notably simpler, a different arrangement is used for the list of references and a somewhat different format is required for the complete bibliographical entries included in the list.
1. For a numerical in-text citation, a single Arabic numeral is all that is required. Each source is assigned a number when it is first cited, so the sources used in a research paper are numbered sequentially according to the order of first citation, with each source retaining throughout the paper the number it was originally assigned. The first source cited would therefore be reference 1, the second reference 2 and so on. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends placing these reference numbers in parentheses, with a citation taking this form: • A recent study of the text presents a similar argument (1). As is the case with author–date citations, information about sources can also be added in the main text: • Wilson and Bond present a similar argument in their recent study of the text (1). • A 2016 examination of the text presents a similar argument (1). • Wilson and Bond’s 2016 study of the text presents a similar argument (1). Unlike author–date citations, however, this additional information in the text does not negate the need for the reference number, which is always required.
If you need to cite a specific page of a document to point readers to a particular piece of information or indicate the location of a quoted passage, the page number should be added after the reference number, usually with a comma to separate it from the reference number and a preceding ‘p.’ to avoid confusion: • As Wilson and Bond explain, ‘the political reading of the text, even the most personal of its episodes, seems universal until the book falls into a woman’s hands’ (1, p.88). When two or more sources are cited at the same time, commas are generally used to separate the reference numbers, usually without intervening spaces: • Several studies have taken this approach to the text (1,2,5–8). PhD Thesis Editing Services 2. The reference list for sequential numerical citations is arranged, not surprisingly, by the numerical sequence of the citations. This means that the first source cited in a research paper (reference 1) is also the first source listed in the References section of the paper, the second is the second source in the list and so on. The following two sample references follow ICMJE guidelines and would serve as the opening entries in a numerical list of references: • 1. Wilson S, Bond F. Political and personal readings of the earliest zone poem. Urban Poetry. 2016;12:72–94. doi:00.0000/00000000000000. • 2. Samuel H, Watson M. Political Poetry and Modern Urbanity. London: Big City Press; 2013.
As these examples show, the information required for a complete reference varies according to the nature of the source cited, just as it does with author–date references. In addition, the names of journals (but not books) are often abbreviated when preparing numerical references. It is essential, however, that the correct or standard abbreviation for each journal be used when shortening journal titles, which can easily be confused in their abbreviated forms, so a little research may be necessary to determine the right abbreviation. Use of the complete journal title is recommended when there is any doubt or there is no standard abbreviation. A cautionary note is in order when writing sequential numerical references. Adding or deleting sources from a numerical list of references that has been arranged according to the order in which sources are first cited can necessitate changes in subsequent list entries as well as in the in-text citations, and the same is the case with any changes to those in-text citations. The reason is simple: if, for example, you remove reference 3 from the text or list, what was reference 4 becomes reference 3, what was reference 5 becomes reference 4 and so on. If you add that removed reference back in elsewhere more alterations will ensue. It is therefore wise to check and finalise the order of the reference list very carefully indeed after all the in-text citations are in their final places, and to ensure that the assigned reference numbers agree with the utmost accuracy between in-text citations and the list of references.
Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services? At Proof-Reading-Service.com we offer the highest quality journal article editing , phd thesis editing and proofreading services via our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. All of our proofreaders are native speakers of English who have earned their own postgraduate degrees, and their areas of specialisation cover such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to help our international clientele with research editing to improve and perfect all kinds of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our expert editing and proofreading team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, applying painstaking journal editing standards to ensure that the references and formatting used in each paper are in conformity with the journal’s instructions for authors and to correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation or simple typing errors. In this way, we enable our clients to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions proofreaders and achieve publication.
Our scientific proofreading services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript proofreading services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical proofreading services , and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading , offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.
If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication , which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.
Guide to Academic and Scientific Publication
How to get your writing published in scholarly journals.
It provides practical advice on planning, preparing and submitting articles for publication in scholarly journals.
How to write a doctoral thesis.
If you are in the process of preparing a PhD thesis for submission, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in the book, How to Write a Doctoral Thesis , which is available on our thesis proofreading website.
PhD Success: How to Write a Doctoral Thesis provides guidance for students familiar with English and the procedures of English universities, but it also acknowledges that many theses in the English language are now written by candidates whose first language is not English, so it carefully explains the scholarly styles, conventions and standards expected of a successful doctoral thesis in the English language.
Why Is Proofreading Important?
To improve the quality of papers.
Effective proofreading is absolutely vital to the production of high-quality scholarly and professional documents. When done carefully, correctly and thoroughly, proofreading can make the difference between writing that communicates successfully with its intended readers and writing that does not. No author creates a perfect text without reviewing, reflecting on and revising what he or she has written, and proofreading is an extremely important part of this process.
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- Citation Styles
What citation style to use for science [Updated 2023]
What citation style should you use for a science paper? In this post, we explore the most frequently used citation styles for science. We cover APA, IEEE, ACS, and others and provide examples of each style.
APA (American Psychological Association) style is a citation format used in the social sciences, education, and engineering, as well as in the sciences. APA consists of two elements: in-text citations and a reference list.
It uses an author-date system, in which the author’s last name and year of publication are put in parentheses (e.g. Smith 2003). These parenthetical citations refer the reader to a list at the end of the paper, which includes information about each source.
APA style resources
🌐 Official APA style guidelines
🗂 APA style guide
📝 APA citation generator
APA style examples
Here is an example of an in-text citation in APA style:
In recent years, much debate has been stirred regarding volcanic soil (Avşar et al., 2018) .
Here is a bibliography entry in APA style:
Avşar, E., Ulusay, R., Aydan, Ö., & Mutlutürk, M . ( 2015 ). On the Difficulties of Geotechnical Sampling and practical Estimates of the Strength of a weakly bonded Volcanic Soil . Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment , 74 ( 4 ), 1375–1394 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10064-014-0710-9
Chicago style is another form of citation used for science papers and journals. It has two formats: a notes and bibliography system and an author-date system.
The notes and bibliography system is mostly used for the humanities, whereas the author-date system is used in science and business. The latter uses in-text citations formed by the author's last name and date of publication. A bibliography at the end of the paper lists the full information for all references.
Chicago style resources
🌐 Official Chicago style guidelines
🗂 Chicago style guide
📝 Chicago citation generator
Chicago style examples
Here is an in-text citation in Chicago style:
However, a research proved this theory right (Hofman and Rick 2018, 65-115) .
Here is a bibliography entry in Chicago style:
Hofman, Courtney A., and Torben C. Rick . “ Ancient Biological Invasions and Island Ecosystems: Tracking Translocations of Wild Plants and Animals .” Journal of Archaeological Research 26 , no. 1 ( 2018 ): 65–115 . doi.org/10.1007/s10814-017-9105-3 .
CSE style is the standard format used in the physical and life sciences. This style features three types of citation systems: citation-sequence, name-year, and citation-name.
• Name-Year : In-text citations of this type feature the author’s last name and the year of publication in brackets. A bibliography at the end lists all references in full.
• Citation-Sequence : Every source is assigned a superscript number that is used as an in-text reference. The bibliography at the end lists all numbers with their references in the order in which they appeared in the text.
• Citation-Name : The reference list is organized alphabetically by authors’ last names; each name is assigned a number which can be placed in superscript as an in-text reference.
CSE style resources
🌐 Official CSE style guidelines
📝 CSE citation generator
CSE style examples
Here is an example of an in-text citation in CSE name-year style:
Therefore, the translocation of wild plants was tracked (Hofman and Rick 2018) .
Here is a bibliography entry in CSE name-year style:
Hofman CA, Rick TC. 2018. Ancient Biological Invasions and Island Ecosystems: Tracking Translocations of Wild Plants and Animals. J. Archaeol. [accessed 2019 Mar 11]; 26(1): 65–11. doi.org/10.1007/s10814-017-9105-3.
AIP style, as its title suggests, is commonly applied in physics and astronomy papers. This style has a numbered citation system , which uses superscript numbers to show in-text citations. These numbers correspond to a list of sources at the end of the paper.
AIP style resources
🌐 Official AIP style guidelines
🗂 AIP style guide
📝 AIP citation generator
AIP style examples
Here is an in-text citation in AIP style:
A similar study was carried out in 2015 ¹ .
Here is a bibliography entry in AIP style:
¹ H.D. Young and R.A. Freedman, Sears & Zemansky's University Physics (Addison-Wesley, San Francisco, CA, 2015) p. 160
ACS style is the standard citation style for chemistry. This style uses both numeric and author-date citations systems. The numbered in-text citations can have either a superscript number or a number in italics. Full references for each source are listed at the end of the paper.
ACS style resources
🌐 Official ACS style guidelines
🗂 ACS style guide
📝 ACS citation generator
ACS style examples
Here is an in-text citation in ACS author-date style:
The opposing side was given first (Brown et al., 2017) .
Here is a bibliography entry in ACS author-date style:
Brown, T.E.; LeMay H.E.; Bursten, B.E.; Murphy, C.; Woodward, P.; Stoltzfus M.E. Chemistry: The Central Science in SI Units . Pearson: New York, 2017.
IEEE style is used for engineering and science papers. This style uses a numeric, in-text citation format, with a number in square brackets. This number corresponds to a reference list entry at the end of the paper.
IEEE style resources
🌐 Official IEEE style guidelines
🗂 IEEE style guide
📝 IEEE citation generator
IEEE style examples
Here is an example of an in-text citation in IEEE style:
As seen in a multi-camera study  ...
Here is a bibliography entry in IEEE style:
 E. Nuger and B. Benhabib, “Multi-Camera Active-Vision for Markerless Shape Recovery of Unknown Deforming Objects,” J. Intell. Rob. Syst. , vol. 92, no. 2, pp. 223–264, Oct. 2018.
Frequently Asked Questions about citation styles used in science
The most frequently used citation style in the sciences is APA (American Psychological Association) style.
There are two major types of citation systems you can use: author-date or numeric. Numeric citation styles tend to be preferred for science disciplines.
Yes, you have to add a bibliography or reference list citing all sources mentioned in your scientific paper.
Some of the most popular scientific journals are: Science Magazine , Nature , and The Lancet .
Title pages for science papers must follow the format of the citation style that you’re using. For example, in APA style you need to include a title, running head, a name, and other details. Visit our guide on title pages to learn more.
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Research Methods in Dentistry pp 139–149 Cite as
Reference Management in Scientific Writing
- Fahimeh Tabatabaei 3 &
- Lobat Tayebi 3
- First Online: 10 April 2022
The reference list is the last section of a proposal or scientific article. As we explained in the previous Chaps. 3 , 4 , and 5 , when preparing a systematic review, a proposal, a scientific report, or an original article, you must consult and refer to the validated articles published or accepted for publication, which are related to your subject. Using these previously published articles would allow you to argue and enrich your proposal or manuscript. The objective of a reference list/bibliography is to let the reader find these consulted articles. The researcher is obliged to observe ethical and scientific principles in reference writing.
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Tabatabaei, F., Tayebi, L. (2022). Reference Management in Scientific Writing. In: Research Methods in Dentistry. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-98028-3_6
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-98028-3_6
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