Vancouver Citation Style (2nd ed.)

The Vancouver style is similar to the APA style in its popularity in the medical field. However, it is more complicated and has some rare features that you will rarely see elsewhere. The primary trait of the style is its use of a numbered reference list for citations. While the Vancouver style is not particularly complicated, you can make mistakes due to its unique nature. As such, we have prepared a guide to help you using our expertise and experience.

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This guide is developed in line with Patrias K. Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers. 2nd ed. Wendling DL, technical editor. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007.

What is Vancouver Citation Style?

The Vancouver style is generally used in physical sciences as well as medicine, for which it was created. It is somewhat unique in the fact that it is neither an in-text style nor a footnote-based one, though it borrows from both paradigms. Instead, the Vancouver style uses a numbered reference list and has you put only the number of the reference using either brackets or superscript in the sentence where the citation happens. The style is most similar to AMA, and the lack of a footnote or a more detailed in-text creates a considerable difference between them and other formats.

Why Cite Your Sources

The need to cite and reference correctly is the primary reason why so many citation styles have emerged throughout the world. The benefits of citing correctly, as well as the issues that may arise if you do not do so, are listed below:

  •  You acknowledge that your work is based on the findings of others and give credit where it’s due. In return, the sources make your conclusions more valid by providing a basis for your reasoning and letting the reader see your inspirations.
  • You avoid plagiarism, which is a severe offense in most occupations that require professional writing skills, both academic and otherwise. In the worst-case scenario, plagiarists can be expelled from their university or college or fired from their job with a permanent mark on their record.
  • You learn to conduct research, find credible sources, and understand their contents. A peer-reviewed scholarly article or a published scientific book warrants more attention than a website blog entry from an anonymous author.
  • You make it easier for the reader to verify your claims by looking at the correct source. If you cite something incorrectly, it may end up referring the reader to a nonexistent document, creating doubt and confusion.

General Principles of Vancouver Formatting

Vancouver citation style is typically used in medicine and science. It uses a numerical system that helps the user to identify the sources utilized in the body of the paper by assigning them with unique numbers. These numbers take less space when compared to other types of citation and formatting and do not interrupt the flow of the text;

  • Double spacing
  • One-inch margins (1’’ or 2.54 cm)
  • Arial or Times New Roman font, unless the instructions demand otherwise.

Vancouver Style Outline

There are 2 basic types of outlines for you to choose (unless your tutor gives you a template)

Simple outline (either alphanumeric or decimal)

Example of alphanumeric outline

Alphanumeric outline in Vancouver Style

Example of decimal outline

Decimal outline in Vancouver Style

Example of full sentence outline

Full sentence outline in Vancouver Style

Vancouver Style Headings

  • No specific rules for chapters, headings, and subheadings. The choice of these is left to the student. If they are used in the paper, their different levels must be clearly distinguished from one another. Different levels of subheadings must be identified by the position in the paper, the size of letters, and capitalization.
  • Bold and larger fonts are recommended. Italics are to be used sparingly, as they are not as noticeable. The use of colored headings is forbidden. The use of capitalization and headings of the same level in the paper must be consistent.

Vancouver In-Text Citation Notes

There are three variants of in-text citations in the Vancouver format:

  • citation-sequence
  • citation-name
  • name-year

Citation-Sequence Example:

Vancouver In-Text Citation Notes - Citation-Sequence Example

Citation-Name Example:

Vancouver In-Text Citation Notes - Citation Name Example

Name-Year Example:

Vancouver In-Text Citation Notes - Citation Name Year Example

Vancouver Reference List Notes

  • The reference list in Vancouver style should be titled as “References” and placed on a separate page at the end of the text.
  • Only Arabic digits (0-9) can be used in order to enumerate the sources in the reference lists and provide citations.
  • The numbers in the reference list must match those in the text if the citation-sequence or citation-name system is used. Each reference must start with a new line and follow the numerical order.
  • No indentations are necessary in the Vancouver style.
  • Only the first word in a title as well as proper names are to be capitalized.

Vancouver Referencing

Vancouver Citation Book

One author

Structure:

1. Last Name Initials. Book title: subtitle. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

Example:

1. Drewett PL. Field archaeology: an introduction. London (England): UCL Press; 2012. 196 p.

Note:

  • Follow cities in countries outside of the US and Canada with the name of the country, either written out or as the two-letter ISO country code, when the city is not well known or when cities in different locations have the same name, such as Cambridge (MA) and Cambridge (England). Place the country name or code in parentheses.
  • As an option, use the country name or country code after all cities not in the US or Canada.
  • If no place of publication can be found on the title page or its verso (back), but it can be found elsewhere in the publication or can be reasonably inferred (e.g., Chicago as the place for a publication of the American Medical Association), place the city in square brackets, such as “[Chicago]”.
  • If no place of publication can be found or inferred, use [place unknown].
  • Provide the total number of pages on which the text of the book appears.

Two to three authors

Structure:

2. Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials. Book title: subtitle. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

Example:

2. McNei AJ, Frey R, Embrechts P. Quantitative risk management: concepts, techniques and tools. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press; 2015. 720 p.

More than three authors

Structure:

3. Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials. Book title: subtitle. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

or

3. Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, et al. Book title: subtitle. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

Example:

3. Covell D, Walker S, Hess PW, Siciliano J. Managing sports organizations: responsibility for performance. 2nd ed. Burlington (MA): Elsevier; 2007. 424 p.

or

3. Covell D, Walker S, Hess PW, et al. Managing sports organizations: responsibility for performance. 2nd ed. Burlington (MA): Elsevier; 2007. 424 p.

Note:

  • If space is a consideration, the number of authors may be limited to a specific number, such as the first three authors. Follow the last named author by a comma and “et al.” or “and others.”
  • Follow US and Canadian cities with the two-letter abbreviation for the state or province to avoid confusion when citing lesser known cities or when cities in different locations have the same name, such as Palm Springs (CA) and Palm Springs (FL). Place the state/province name in parentheses.

Different editions

Structure:

4. Last Name Initials. Book title: subtitle. # ed. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

Example:

4. Feldman R. Understanding psychology. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2011. 786 p.

Unknown author

Structure:

5. Book title: subtitle. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

Example:

5. Alluvial archaeology in Europe. New York: Routledge; 2009. 313 p.

6. Merriam-Webster dictionary new edition. Springfield (MA): Merriam-Webster; 2016. 960 p.

Note: This type of reference can be used in citing dictionaries as well as any books without authors.

Editor with no author

Structure:

7. Last Name Initials, editor. Book title: subtitle. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

Example:

7. Baker R, editor. The Norton book of light verse. New York (NY): W. W. Norton; 1986. 448 p.

Author with an editor

Structure:

8. Last Name Initials. Book title: subtitle. Last Name Initials, editor. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

Example:

8. Howells WD. Their wedding journey. Reeves JK, editor. Bloomington (IN): Indiana University Press; 1968. 184 p.

Translated book

Structure:

9. Last Name Initials. Book title: subtitle. Last Name Initials, translator; Last Name Initials, editor. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

Example:

9. Homer. The Odyssey. Fagles R, translator; Knox B, editor. London (England): Penguin Books; 1997. 541 p.

Note: Make sure to mention all contributors such as translators, editors, co-authors, or illustrators if mentioned on the book’s cover page.

Corporate author

Structure:

10. Organization Name. Book title: subtitle. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

Example:

10. Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and New Zealand. AASB 128 investments in associates and joint ventures. Sydney: Pearson Education; 2016. 18 p.

Note:

  • If corporate author and publisher are the same, shorten the publisher. For example, “Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and New Zealand” – “Institute”.
  • If there are several corporate authors list them all and divide with a semicolon.

Chapter in an edited book

Structure:

11. Author’s Last Name Initials. Chapter title: subtitle. In: Editor’s Last Name Initials, editors. Book title: subtitle. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. page range.

Example:

11. Johnson JL, Repta R. Sex and gender: beyond the binaries. In: Oliffe JL, Greaves LJ, editors. Designing and conducting gender, sex, and health research.Los Angeles: SAGE Publishing; 2012. p. 17–37.

Book found online

Structure:

1. Last Name Initials. Book title: subtitle [Internet]. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year [cited Year Mon Date]. total number of pages. Available from: URL

Example:

13. Salinger JD. Catcher in the rye [Internet]. [place unknown]: Tyrone Area School District; c2012 [cited 2019 Jan 20]. 115 p. Available from: https://www.tyrone.k12.pa.us/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?moduleinstanceid=2789&dataid=3209&FileName=Catcher%20In%20The%20Rye.pdf

Note: If no date of publication can be found, but the publication contains a date of copyright, use the date of copyright preceded by the letter “c”; for example, c2005.

Vancouver Citation Article in Periodicals

Journal article

Structure:

1. Last Name Initials. Article title. Periodical Title. Year;volume(issue):pages.

Example:

1. Breslau J, Engel C. Information and communication technologies in behavioral health: a literature review with recommendations for the air force. RAND Health Quarterly. 2016;5(4):1-18.

Note:

  • Journal titles are abbreviated.
  • Articles, conjunctions, and prepositions must be omitted.
  • End date information with a semicolon unless there is no volume or issue, then end with a colon.
  • The month and the day of the month or the season may be omitted if the journal is continuously paginated throughout the volume. However, the month and the day of the month or the season must be included when citing a journal that has no volume or issue number.
  • If space is a consideration, the number of authors may be limited to a specific number, such as the first three authors. Follow the last named author by a comma and “et al.” or “and others.

Structure:

2. Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials. Article title. Periodical Title. Year;volume(issue):pages.

or

2. Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, Last Name Initials, et al. Article title. Periodical Title. Year;volume(issue):pages.

Example:

2. Melville JL, Reed SD, Russo J, Croicu CA, Ludman E, LaRocco-Cockburn A, Katon W. Improving care for depression in obstetrics and gynecology: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol, 2014 Jun;123(6):1237–1246.

or

2. Melville JL, Reed SD, Russo J, et al. Improving care for depression in obstetrics and gynecology: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol, 2014 Jun;123(6):1237–1246.

Journal article (no author)

Structure:

3. Article title. Periodical Title. Year;volume(issue):pages.

Example:

3. Perioperative blood salvage. Vox Sanguinis. 2006 Aug;91(2):185-192.

Online journal article with doi

Structure:

4. Last Name Initials. Article title. Periodical Title. Year;volume(issue):pages. doi

Example:

4. Williams J. Tools for achieving sustainable housing strategies in rural Gloucestershire. Planning Practice & Research. 2000 Aug;15(3):155–174. doi:10.1080/02697450020000131

Online journal article without doi

Structure:

5. Last Name Initials. Article title. Periodical Title [Internet]. Year Mon Date [cited Year Mon Date];volume(issue):pages. Available from: URL

Example:

5. Springborn M. Accounting for behavioral responses during a flu epidemic using home television viewing. BMC Infectious Diseases [Internet]. 2015 Jan 23 [cited 2019 Jan 20];15(21):[about 30 screens]. Available from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2334/15/21

Note:

  • If no pages are mentioned in the article, state the approximate number of pages in square brackets [# p.], [about # screens], or [# paragraphs].
  • If no volume and issue are available, state pages after a colon. For example, 2005 [cited 2019 Jan 5]:[5 p.].

Magazine article in print

Structure:

6. Last Name Initials. Article title. Periodical Title. Year Mon;volume:pages.

Example:

6. Biello D. Coal fires burning bright. Scientific American. 2011 Mar;304:14.

Online magazine article

Structure:

7. Last Name Initials. Article title. Periodical Title [Internet]. Year Mon [cited Year Mon Date];volume:pages. Available from: URL

Example:

7. Rosner H. Palm oil is unavoidable. Can it be sustainable? National Geographic [Internet]. 2018 Dec [cited 2019 Jan 20]:[about 30 screens]. Available from: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/12/palm-oil-products-borneo-africa-south-america-environment-impact/

Newspaper article in print

Structure:

8. Last Name Initials. Article title. Periodical Title. Year Mon Date;Section:number of the columns (number of the column on which the article begins).

Example:

8. Cohen MA. Hillary Clinton is more than content to run as a liberal populist. The Boston Globe. 2015 Jun 4;Opinion:3 (col. 1).

Note:

  • Give the number of the column on which the article begins
  • Include edition and issue after the year before pages (if available).

Online newspaper / magazine article

Structure:

9. Last Name Initials. Article title. Periodical Title [Internet]. Year Mon Date [cited Year Mon Date];Section::[# screens]. Available from: URL

Example:

9. Baker P, Stolberg SG. Bush’s coffin arrives at capitol, where the former President will lie in state. The New York Times [Internet]. 2018 Dec 3 [cited 2019 Jan 20];Politics:[about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/us/politics/trump-george-bush-capitol.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Vancouver Citation Article

Full conference proceedings

Structure:

10. Last Name Initials, editor. Conference Title. Proceedings of the Conference in City, Country; Year Mon Date; City of publication: Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

Example:

10. Gretzel U, Law R, Fuchs M, editors. Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism. Proceedings of the International Conference in Lugano, Switzerland; 2010 Feb 10-12; Vienna: Springer; 2015. 606 p.

Note: Capitalize all the significant words in the title of the conference (i.e., do not capitalize articles, conjunctions, and prepositions)

Paper from a published conference proceedings

Structure:

11. Last Name Initials. Paper title. In: Last Name Initials, editor. Conference Title; Year Mon Date; City, Country. City of publication: Publisher; Year. pages.

Example:

11. Tran CK, Tseng CD, Lee TF. Improving the face recognition accuracy under varying illumination conditions for local binary patterns and local ternary patterns based on Weber-Face and singular value decomposition. In: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, editor. 3rd International Conference on Green Technology and Sustainable Development (GTSD) conference proceedings; 2016 Nov 24-25; Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Conference Publishing Services; c.2016. p. 5-9.

Paper from conference proceedings available online

Structure:

12. Last Name Initials. Paper title. In: Last Name Initials, editor. Conference Title; Year Mon Date; City, Country. Place of publication: Publisher [Internet]; Year [cited Year Mon Date]. pages. Available from: URL

Example:

12. Tran CK, Tseng CD, Lee TF. Improving the face recognition accuracy under varying illumination conditions for local binary patterns and local ternary patterns based on Weber-Face and singular value decomposition. In: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, editor. 3rd International Conference on Green Technology and Sustainable Development (GTSD) conference proceedings; 2016 Nov 24-25; Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Conference Publishing Services [Internet]; c.2016 [cited 2019 Jan 20]. p. 5-9. Available from: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7796605

Vancouver Dissertation and Thesis Citation

Dissertation/thesis in print

Structure:

1. Last Name Initials. Dissertation/thesis title: subtitle [degree statement]. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year. total number of pages.

Example:

1. Smith, WB. Data structures and principles of programming [PhD thesis]. [Calgary (AB)]: University of Calgary; 2012. 217 p.

Note:

  • Although the format is similar to that of a book citation, the type of work must be referenced in square brackets at the end of the title. It could be a doctoral or master’s thesis, a dissertation, or some other type of academic work;
  • The city and the country code should be placed in squared brackets. See the list of ISO country codes for additional information;
  • If the dissertation was published, the place of publication must also be named. Typically, it is the same university where the dissertation was defended.

Online dissertation/thesis

Structure:

2. Last Name Initials. Dissertation/thesis title: subtitle [degree statement] [Internet]. City (Country/Code): Publisher; Year [cited Year Mon Date]; total number of pages. Available from: URL

Example:

2. Deines T. Global warming coverage in the media: trends in a Mexico City newspaper [PhD thesis] [Internet]. [Salina (KS)]: Kansas State University; 2007 [cited 2019 Jan 20]; 183 p. Available from: http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/497/TinaDeines2007.pdf?sequence=4

Vancouver Website Citation

Document on World Wide Web

Structure:

1. Last Name Initials. Document title [Internet]. Place of publication: Publisher; [updated Year Mon Date; cited Year Mon Date]. Available from: URL

Example:

1. Folkman J. Top 9 leadership behaviors that drive employee commitment [Internet]. [place unknown: publisher unknown]; [updated 2013 Mar 23; cited 2019 Jan 20]. Available from: http://zengerfolkman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ZFA-9-Behaviors.pdf

Document on World Wide Web (no author)

Structure:

2. Document title [Internet]. Place of publication: Publisher; Year [cited Year Mon Date]. Available from: URL

Example:

2. Seven steps for effective leadership development [Internet]. [place unknown]: ORACLE; c2012 [cited 2019 Jan 20]. Available from: http://www.oracle.com/us/media1/steps-effective-leadership-dev-1657106.pdf

Blog

Structure:

3. Blog Name [blog on the Internet]. Place of registration (Country/State code): Company; Year – [cited Year Mon Date]. Available from: URL

3. Last Name Initials. Blog post title [Internet]. Place of registration: Company; Year – [cited Year Mon Date]. Available from: URL

Example:

3. KidneyNotes.com [blog on the Internet]. New York (NY): KidneyNotes; c2006 – [cited 2007 May 16]. Available from: http://www.kidneynotes.com/.

4. Cohen MH. CAMLAW: complementary and alternative medicine law blog [Internet]. Cambridge (MA): Michael H. Cohen, Esq; c2007 – [cited 2007 May 16]. Available from: http:// www.camlawblog.com/.

Tables and Figures in Vancouver Style

The Vancouver citation style treats tables and images similarly to other reference types, requiring that the object reference an appropriate entry in the bibliography. There are no restrictions on the specific presentation of an image or table, though there is an example provided in this guide in figure (1). In general, you should follow basic guidelines that apply regardless of the specific style used, such as referring to figures and tables directly via parentheses.

Figure 1. Glass world (1).

Figure 1. Glass world (1).

When citing a figure or table that come from a print source, you have to include a full reference in the bibliography. First, cite the work itself as usual, including all of the information that would go into such an entry. Next, identify the object via the designation used for it in the original paper. Provide the number, the caption, and the page on which the table or figure may be found. If there is no caption, create one yourself based on what you think would be appropriate. With online sources, you can reference the items directly, and there is generally no paging, so the referencing becomes easier. With that said, print sources are typically seen as more credible than online ones, so you should be careful about balancing difficulty and quality.

Reference List

1.    Glass world [image on the Internet] 2018. [cited August 18, 2019]. Available from: https://www.environmentalscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/NEPA-CEQA-640×425.jpeg

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