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UC Referencing Guide

What is Vancouver Style?

The Vancouver style of referencing is a numbered referencing style predominantly used in the health science field.

It takes its name from a meeting held in 1978 in Vancouver, Canada, where a group of editors of general medical journals met "to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals" (see International Committee of Medical Journal Editors).

The style guide to refer to for this style is Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers, currently published by the National Library of Medicine. This publication permits a number of variations in format. In this referencing guide, some options are noted but not everything is listed.

This style is also known as National Library of Medicine (NLM) or ICMJE style.

General Guidelines

Basic format

Number. Author AA. Title of work. Location: Publisher; Year of publication.

Number. Editor AA, editor. Title of work. Location: Publisher; Year of publication.

Number. Author AA. Title of article. Abbreviated Title of Journal. Year Month Day of publication;volume(issue):pp-p.

  • Authors: Give authors in the format Author AA. Use a maximum of 2 initials. It is also an acceptable option to give full first names.

Smith JP, Tindale F.

Smith, John P; Tindale, Fiona.

  • Titles: Capitalise only the first word of the title, proper nouns, proper adjectives, acronyms and initialisms. See Journals Article - Print for sources on how to abbreviate journal titles.

This is my life: collection of photos by Andrew Snowden

  • Titles: If there is no title on an item, e.g. photo from the web, create a title and enter it in square brackets in place of the title.

[Child playing with dog]

  • Articles: Capitalise only the first word of the article title as well as proper nouns, proper adjectives, acronyms and initialisms. Abbreviate significant words in a journal title, omitting other words such as articles, conjunctions and prepositions. Capitalise all words in the journal title.

How we use mobile phones. Soc Sci Q.

  • Publishers: Give one location, usually the first named, as the place of publication. For clarification, give the location as city and state for the United States & Canada (use abbreviations for Canadian and US states within round brackets). For other countries, give the anglised form of the city when possible and add the country (written out or as ISO country code within round brackets) if clarification is needed. Abbreviate the names of well-known publishers and commonly used words in publisher names if desired (see Abbreviated Words in Publisher Names). If there is more than one publisher, name subsequent publishers in a note at the end.

New York: Python Books

Cambridge (MA): MIT Press

Cambridge (GB): Python

North Ryde (Australia): Penguin Books

London: SAGE; 2012. Published in association with the Open University.

  • Year: Give the year of publication. Add a copyright date if there is 3 or more years between that and the year of publication. If there is no year of publication, give the copyright year.


2011, c1998


In-text Citation

You need to provide an in-text reference if you:

  • use a long direct quotation
  • use a short direct quotation
  • use an indirect quotation by either paraphrasing or summarising.

Vancouver uses Arabic numbers to number references. The numbers are put either:

  • in round brackets e.g. (1), or
  • in superscript e.g.1

(Note: Check with your lecturer or tutor for the preferred option to use in your assignments.)

Reference List

The Reference List appears at the end of your paper, the references are listed in numerical order.

References are created using these style guidelines.

You will need to compile a list of all sources used in your assignment/report. Your Reference list must provide full and accurate details, as it is the means by which the reader can follow up your sources. Guidelines for referencing a variety of sources are available in this Library Guide.

The reference list is a numbered list and should be single spaced with one line space between each entry unless your lecturer has advised differently.  Check your unit outline or consult with your lecturer.

Vancouver and EndNote

There are a variety of Vancouver Citation Styles supplied by EndNote. These are incomplete and are not suitable for use at the University of Canberra.

If you are using the EndNote program to organise your references, please download the UC Vancouver Styles below.

(To use these styles successfully please enter your references using the reference types listed on each page of this guide.)