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Vancouver Referencing System

Vancouver Referencing System

The Vancouver referencing system was developed by The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and is known also as the “author-number’ system.

Reference Lists

A reference list in the Vancouver style should display all published materials used in a thesis or paper. Consequently, it is unnecessary to make reference to any additional reading or background materials if they are not mentioned in a main text.

References should be presented in number order as the last section of a document and each one should generally include the author’s name, the title of the cited work, and various publishing details.

Citing Writers and Editors

Citing first six of several authors: Where a publication has been authored by six people or more, the names of the first six should be listed and the remaining ones referred to by the term “et al.” These authors should be listed by surname and the initials of their first name(s). Author names should be separated by commas. Where works are authored by agencies, public bodies, or organizations, list the names of the agencies, organizations, etc. in full. List editors in the same manner and position as you would do with authors, following the names with the word “editor” or “editors.”  

Citing the Titles of Works

It is only necessary to capitalize the first or initial word of a title, proper name (i.e. the names of persons and organizations) and abbreviated forms (i.e. DNA, HIV, UN, and so on). It is not necessary to capitalize subtitles, while the names of journals should be presented in abbreviated form in accordance with Index Medicus– the standard system.

Publishing Information

You should list the place of publication, the name of the publisher and the year of publication. Volume numbers should be included for journal articles as well as the year of publication and page number or page range. Where journals use continuous page numbers throughout every issue of every volume, the month and issue number can be left out. The date of newspapers and page number or page range should be noted. Where articles have been accepted or approved for publication but are yet unpublished, the words “in press” should be added.

Following a 1978 meeting of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors in Vancouver, the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals emerged, and this became the Vancouver style’s official standard or guidelines.

The information provided below is based on these uniform requirements.

With a few small modifications, the Vancouver style is also set out in full in the American Medical Association style manual (or manual of style): an authors and editors guide. 9th ed. This edition was published in Baltimore by Williams& Wilkins in the year 1998.

Where notation is used in references, e.g., in chapters, pages, editors, etc., this is influenced by the language of the writer’s own paper rather than the language of any source being referred to. The following fictional examples come from an English language thesis paper.

In-Text Citations

Within the text of a paper, references are denoted by parenthesized numbers or numbers in square brackets and in sequential order according to their first appearance in a text. Where a reference is repeated a number of times within a text, it is given the same number each time.

Fictional Examples

Quick diagnosis of malaria is essential to controlling the illness. However, this is often hindered by the prohibitive costs of training and reliable diagnosis methods (1). It is believed the availability of antigen methods of testing could improve diagnosis in rural parts of the tropics (2-3). Upon receiving an hour’s worth of training, over 60 volunteers were able to undertake accurate diagnosis (2, 4). 

Fictional Examples of Reference

Citing a book

Author CA. Book Title. Publication Place: Name of Publisher; Year of Publication.
Singh AS, Dingle DE, Trent MJ, Noone KA. Pharmacy Practices.Washington: Brook Mills; 2013.

Citing new edition books
Harper T, Sale P. Heart Diseases and the respiratory system. 9th ed. New York: NewAge Science; 2011.

Citing books with an editor/editors
Chambers LE, Lane AS, editors. Changes to ecosystem and public hygiene: an international perspective. St Louis: Harris College Press; 2011.

Citing a chapter of a book
Lamb B. Learning Skills. In: Franks C, Wylie T, Grossman F, editors.The ultimate learning experience. London: United College Press; 1993. p. 45-59.
Ward MJ, Esmail SE. Public health and societal inequalities. In: Shaw K, Delaney PR, editors.The good and bad in healthcare. 3rd ed. Dallas: Texas US Press; 1982. p. 238-55.

Citing a book authored by an organization
Royal Perth Hospital; Perth University, Department of Nursing. Summary of nursing practices and research, 2000-2001. Perth (Australia): Perth University; 2002.
World Health Organization. Improving the availability of protein-based foods: ensuring sufficient nutrition for the global population. New York: World Health Committe; 1999.

Citing articles from journals

Writer CA, Writer DI, Writer SE. Title of Article. Name of Journal. Year of Publication; volume(number):page/page range.

Citing articles from journals with continuous page numbers
Canning VE, Mechanical facilitators and difficulties faced by disabled people in finding employment: an employee’s perspective. Employment. 2011;14:314-326.

Citing articles from journals that are page numbered per issue
Vane R. Exploring cultural ethics: an insightful essay by Laura Moon and Vincent Lilley. Cultural Theory and Society. 2011;18(3):3-18.

Citing articles from journal authored by more than six people
Temple C, Mannering PA, Bianchi S, Ching L, Carson W, Potter P, et al. Brief communication: evaluation of malaria testing in the rural tropics. Trop Health. 2010;10(2):215-8.

Citing articles from newspaper

With writer, and pages numbered by paper supplement Wilkinson, B. . Modern music. Weekly News. 2010 3 April; Lifestyle: 3-4.

Citing other materials

Research papers/reports
Niven P, Brown CE. The publishing sector in UK and Asia. Oxford: EPCC Research Association; 2011. EPCC Research Association Working Report Series, No. 218.

Citing SOUs and citing Ds, laws and publications from parliament.
Because the Vancouver writing style takes the US perspective it is difficult to find guidelines for citing Swedish materials, e.g., parliamentary and legal materials. Nonetheless, the following are a few fictional examples on how to present such sources.

Citing SOUs and citing Ds You should treat a SOU and a D as you would a report using an organization or agency as the author where a committee or similar body is clearly stated. If this is missing, treat the report as you would a publication with no known author.

The Commission of Marine Environment. Scandinavia: new strategies needed: report. Denmark: Fritz; 2013. Official Government Reports 2013: 66.

Transitioning back to work: report on difficulties of moving from welfare back to work. Denmark: Fritz; 2010. Sou 2011: 3rd

Employment opportunities for older people: annual review. Denmark: Department of Employment; 2011. Ds department Series 2011: 20th

Citing publications from parliament Supervision of domestic animals. Denmark: Department of Agriculture; 2010. Parliamentary Bill 2010/11: 210.

Citing legal source materials In certain respects, the way legal materials are referred to differs from other material types. Generally, citations for constitutions and similar or other legal matters should include the formal or popular name or title of the legislation or law along with the publication year and place. Swedish materials could appear as they do in the following fictional examples:

Personal Information Act (SFF 2000: 199). Oslo: Department of Justice. alternatively SFF 1995: 187. Personal Information Act. Oslo: Department of Justice.

Act (1950: 487) on children’s allowance (SFF). Oslo: Department of Social Security. alternatively SFF 1950 487th Act (1950: 487) on child welfare support. Oslo: Department of Social Security.

Citing papers from conferences Peters, H. “Family killings” and their role in the west. In: Lumden C, Wallis D, editors. Human rights and the family: paper discussed at the 10th International Family Conference. Stockholm: Bjorg; 2010. p. 391-410.

Citing publications from conferences Greggson V, Lumsden G, editors. Human rights and the family: papers discussed at the 10th International Family Conference. Oslo: Helman (Publisher); 2004.

Citing from dictionaries and encyclopedias Entry words should also appear in references (in the below example “Dyslexia– reading problem”): Harvey’s science dictionary. 24th ed. New York: Hayes& Jones; 1986. Dyslexia; p. 122-23.

Citing source materials from electronic media

Saying where you found a document is essential, e.g., provide the URL and the access date.

Citing reports Brindle, J, Simpson, K. Financial Report for US Television: 2000-2006. New York: Media Intelligence Centre; 2008 [accessed 2008-11-12].

Citing websites US healthcare: registered providers. New York: Health Institute; 2010 [cited 2010 August 10].