Deakin guide to referencing - Vancouver explained

Learn about how and why we use sources in academic writing.

Referencing explained:

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Before you browse the guide, first learn about how and why we use sources in academic writing

Referencing explained:

Did you miss an Orientation session on referencing? View the recording in UniStart.

Still have a question? Study Support can help.

Overview

Vancouver is a numbered citation style of referencing:

  1. A number in parentheses is assigned to a source and that same number is used for that source throughout a paper. The number follows the relevant section of the text.
  2. A numerically ordered reference list at the end of the paper giving full details of each source cited in text. There is only one reference list entry for each individual work.

The Vancouver style of referencing was developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). ICMJE produces the guidelines for publication, which are known as the ICMJE Recommendations (formerly known as the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts). The United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) has further developed these citation standards.

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 2011 Sep 15; cited 2013 Dec 14]. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/citingmedicine

U.S. National Library of Medicine [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine; 2003- [updated 2013 Aug 20; cited 2014 Jan 29]. ICMJE recommendations for the conduct, reporting, editing and publication of scholarly work in medical journals: sample references; [about 6 screens]. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/uniform_requirements.html

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Numbered citations

  • For all sources cited in the body of the paper, provide a reference number in parentheses (round brackets).
  • Note that numbers in square brackets and superscript numbers are also acceptable formats used in biomedical journals
  • Reference numbers are usually placed outside full stops and commas, but journals vary in their practice.
  • The same number is used for a source throughout a paper. This number is determined by the first citation of the source, e.g. if a work is the fourth source cited in a paper, it will be referred to as (4) throughout the paper.

It is important to be consistent in the style you adopt. You may need to consult your unit guide or unit staff to determine the preferred style.

... and biomedical authorship continues to have important academic, social, and financial implications. (1) In the past, readers were rarely provided with information about contributions to studies from those listed as authors and in acknowledgments. (2) Some journals now request...


Citing multiple sources

When two or more sources are referred to at the same point in the text, the relevant numbers are separated by commas:

Recognition of the importance of symptom control has been growing. (4, 8, 21)

Three or more consecutive citations are joined by a hyphen:

Many studies have shown that 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day is good for your wellbeing. (6-8)


Summarising, paraphrasing and quoting

You must reference all material you use from sources each time you use a fact, a conclusion, an idea or a finding from someone's work. It is necessary to cite a source each time you:

  • summarise (explain or discuss someone's idea in your own words)
  • paraphrase (closely re-word what someone has said)
  • quote (reproduce an author's exact words).

No quotation marks are required if you are summarising or paraphrasing. Place direct quotes within double quote marks.

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Reference list

The reference list includes only the works cited in text. It appears at the end of the paper and provides the full bibliographic information of the sources cited. Only one reference list entry should be provided for each work cited. The reference list is ordered numerically.

If an article appears in both print and electronic form, it is important to cite the source type that you have read.

  • Reference list entries are ordered numerically and reference numbers are followed by a full stop.
  • Authors' family names are followed by their two-letter initials with no space or full stops between initials, e.g. Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL.
  • Commas are used to separate each author's name. Note that 'and' is not used to separate the last two names.
  • Journal titles are abbreviated unless the title is a single word or very short.
Sample reference list
  1. Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
  2. Rose ME, Huerbin MB, Melick J, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Regulation of interstitial excitatory amino acid concentrations after cortical contusion injury. Brain Res. 2002;935(1-2):40-6.
  3. Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Hypertension, insulin, and proinsulin in participants with impaired glucose tolerance. Hypertension. 2002;40(5):679-86.
  4. Murray PR, Rosenthal KS, Kobayashi GS, Pfaller MA. Medical microbiology. 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2002.
  5. Meltzer PS, Kallioniemi A,Trent JM. Chromosome alterations in human solid tumors. In: Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW, editors. The genetic basis of human cancer. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2002. p. 93-113.
  6. Tynan T. Medical improvements lower homicide rate: study sees drop in assault rate. The Washington Post. 2002 Aug 12;Sect. A:2 (col. 4).
  7. Abood S. Quality improvement initiative in nursing homes: the ANA acts in an advisory role. Am J Nurs [Internet]. 2002 Jun [cited 2012 Aug 12];102(6):[about 1 p.]. Available from: http://www.nursingworld.org/ AJN/2002/june/Wawatch.htm
  8. Zhang M, Holman CD, Price SD, Sanfilippo FM, Preen DB, Bulsara MK. Comorbidity and repeat admission to hospital for adverse drug reactions in older adults: retrospective cohort study. BMJ. 2009 Jan 7; 338:a2752. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a2752. PubMed PMID: 19129307: PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2615549.
  9. Cancer-Pain.org [Internet]. New York: Association of Cancer Online Resources, Inc.; c2000-01 [updated 2002 May 16; cited 2002 Jul 9]. Available from: http://www.cancer-pain.org/
  10. O'Connor T. When your heart lets you down. The Age. [Internet] 2013 Dec 2 [cited 2014 Jan 22];Pulse:40. Available from: http://docs.newsbank.com/s/InfoWeb/aggdocs/AUNB/14A6EB518A6E3E08/104B74501DCB01D3?p_multi=ASAB&s_lang=en-US

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Multiple citations

When citing two or more sources at the same point in the text, the relevant numbers are separated by commas:

Recognition of the importance of symptom control has been growing. (4, 8, 21)

Three or more consecutive citations are joined by a hyphen:

Many studies have shown that 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day is good for your wellbeing. (6-8)

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Repeat citations

  • The same number is used for a source throughout a paper and only one entry in the reference list should be provided for each work cited.
  • This number is determined by the first citation of the source, e.g. if a work is the fourth source cited in a paper, it will be referred to as (4) throughout the paper and in the reference list.
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Number of authors

For works with one to six authors, provide the names of all of the authors.

Author Initials, Author Initials. Title of book. edition number. Place of publication: Publisher; year.

Murray PR, Rosenthal KS, Kobayashi GS, Pfaller MA. Medical microbiology. 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2002.

For works with more than six authors, provide the names of the first six authors followed by "et al."

Author Initials, Author Initials, ... Author Initials, et al. Title of book. edition number. Place of publication: Publisher; year.

Wenger NK, Sivarajan Froelicher E, Smith LK, Ades PA, Berra K, Blumenthal JA, et al. Cardiac rehabilitation. Rockville (MD): Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (US); 1995.

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Group author

For works that list an organisation, corporation or agency as the author, provide the name of the group in the author position.

Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Hypertension, insulin, and proinsulin in participants with impaired glucose tolerance. Hypertension. 2002;40(5):679-86.

Advanced Life Support Group. Acute medical emergencies: the practical approach. London: BMJ Books; 2001.

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No author

If a person or organisation cannot be identified as the author but there are editors, revisers or translators named in the publication, begin the reference with the names of the editors/revisers/translators followed by their role.

Gilstrap LC, Cunningham FG, VanDorsten JP, editors. Operative obstetrics. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2002.

If no author, authoring organisation, editor, reviser or translator is given, begin the reference with the title of the book.

21st century heart solution may have a sting in the tail. BMJ. 2002;325(7357):184.

Cancer-Pain.org [Internet]. New York: Association of Cancer Online Resources, Inc.; c2000-01 [updated 2002 May 16; cited 2002 Jul 9]. Available from: http://www.cancer-pain.org/

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Secondary source

When citing a source that you have not read directly but which has been quoted within a source that you have read, provide the name of the original author in text.

In this example, the student has read Rennie and Gunsalus, who cite Charrow, but the student has not directly read Charrow.

Charrow explains that… (18)

In the reference list provide details of the source you have read (e.g. Rennie and Gunsalus), as well as the author being cited (e.g. Charrow), using the phrase “cited in”.

18. Charrow RP. PHS' Office of Scientific Integrity Review: housekeeping is in order. J NIH Res. 1991;3:103-6. Cited in Rennie D, Gunsalus CK. Scientific misconduct: new definition, procedures, and office - perhaps a new leaf. JAMA. 1993;269:915-7.

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No date

  • If no date is provided, enter [date unknown] in place of the date.
  • If no date is provided, but can be reliably estimated, place the estimated year with a question mark in square brackets.
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No page numbers

If no page numbers are provided, which is often the case with online sources, you may provide the total number of paragraphs, or estimated number of printed pages or screens. Provide in square brackets before the URL, e.g. [3 paragraphs], [about 3p.], [about 4 screens].

Number of paragraphs

Complementary/Integrative Medicine [Internet]. Houston: University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center; c2007. Energy therapies; [cited 2007 Feb 21]; [3 paragraphs]. Available from: http://www.mdanderson.org/departments/cimer/dIndex.cfm?pn=7B632E4A-56B2-11D5-812100508B603A14

Estimated number of printed pages

Carey B. Psychiatrists revise the book of human troubles. New York Times [Internet]. 2008 Dec 17 [cited 2008 Dec 19];Health:[about 3 p.]. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/health/18psych.html?_r=1&em

Estimated number of screens

Grady D. Jump in doctor visits and deaths in flu season. New York Times [Internet]. 2008 Apr 18 [cited 2008 Dec 19];Research:[about 4 screens]. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/health/research/18flu.html?scp=7&sq=flu%20season&st=cse

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