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Vancouver Referencing

Basic instructions on how to reference using the Vancouver system

References - Vancouver rules

A reference is a precise description of the resource you have numbered in your in-text citation; enabling the reader to identify and locate it.  References provide your reader with full details for each of the sources you have cited in your text, using the format specific to Vancouver. 


In the Vancouver style, your reference list will be numbered in numerical order, from 1 onwards, where the numbers correspond with those assigned to your in-text citations.   


1. Pears S, Shields G. Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 12th ed. London: Bloomsbury Academic; 2022.


2. Patrias K, Wendling D. Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers [Internet]. 2nd ed. Bethesda, MD: National Library of Medicine; 2007 [cited 2022 Jul 25]. Available from:


Please note- do not put brackets round the numbers in your reference list; use the format above.


Author names are listed with surnames and initials as above.  Authors initials are listed together with no punctuation:




Newman RE, Storlien LH....


It's very important to be thorough and methodical in recording the bibliographic details of the sources you are using in your work.  Whether it's in a notebook, a tool like OneNote or Evernote or a Word document on your device, keeping track of these important details will help you produce more accurate citations and references.

Referencing a source with multiple authors

If your source has between 2 and up to 6 authors, list all the authors in the order listed on the source separated by commas.

A book with three authors:


3. Hull J, Forton J, Thomson AH. Paediatric respiratory medicine. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2015.


If there are more than 6 authors, you may put the first six followed by a comma then 'et al.' meaning 'and others'.

This example electronic journal article has 12 authors, but the reference is shortened to:

4. Burns J, Mason C, Mueller N, Ohlander J, Zock J, Drobnic F, et al. Asthma prevalence in olympic summer athletes and the general population: an analysis of three European countries. Respir Med [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2022 Aug 28]; 109(7): 813-820. Available from:   

Referencing a source with editors

You should not abbreviate the words 'editor' or 'editors'.



5. Redclift N, Gibbon S, editors. Genetics: critical concepts in social and cultural theory. London: Routlege; 2017.

Referencing online resources

When referencing a resource that you have accessed online there are some additional pieces of information that you need to provide in order to indicate this to the reader.  The key differences are:

  • You will need to insert [Internet] at the end of the title, indicating you accessed the resource online.

  • You will need to insert [cited Year Month Day] after the year of publication, telling the reader exactly when you accessed the resource.  The month is abbreviated to its common three letter format, for example March is written as Mar and September is written as Sep.

  • You will need to finish the reference with the statement 'Available from;' and the full URL where you accessed the resource.  

Specific examples of how to reference different types of online resources are given elsewhere in this guide (such as the books, journals and websites sections).

How to deal with missing info

If no authors or editors can be identified, use the title of the book, journal article or website.