Citing using the Vancouver style

Each piece of work cited in your text should have a unique number, assigned in the order of citation. If, in your text, you cite a piece of work more than once, the same citation number should be used. You can write the number in brackets or as superscript.

Examples

Citing one piece of work

Recent research (1) indicates that the number of duplicate papers being published is increasing.

or

 Recent research1 indicates that the number of duplicate papers being published is increasing.

Citing more than one piece of work at the same time

If you want to cite several pieces of work in the same sentence, you will need to include the citation number for each piece of work. A hyphen should be used to link numbers which are inclusive, and a comma used where numbers are not consecutive.

The following is an example where works 6, 7, 8, 9, 13 and 15 have been cited in the same place in the text.

      Several studies (6-9, 13, 15) have examined the effect of congestion charging in urban areas.

Citing the author's name in your text

You can use the author's name in your text, but you must insert the citation number as well.

      As emphasised by Watkins (2) carers of diabetes sufferers ‘require perseverance and an understanding of humanity' (p. 1).

Citing more than one author's name in your text

If there is more than one author use ‘et al' after the first author.

      Simons et al (3) state that the principle of effective stress is ‘imperfectly known and understood by many practising engineers' (p. 4).

Citing from chapters written by different authors

Some books may contain chapters written by different authors. When citing work from such a book, the author who wrote the chapter should be cited, not the editor of the book.

Citing works by the same author written in the same year

If you cite a new work which has the same author and was written in the same year as an earlier citation, each work will have a different number.

Communication of science in the media has increasingly come under focus, particularly where reporting of facts and research is inaccurate (4, 5).

Citing from works with no obvious author

If you need to cite a piece of work which does not have an obvious author, you should use what is called a ‘corporate' author. For example, many online works will not have individually named authors, and in many cases the author will be an organisation or company. Using the Vancouver style you don't have to include the author in your citation in the text of your work, but you still need to include an author in the full reference at the end of your work.

      The Department of Health (6) advocates a national strategy is creating a framework to drive improvements in dementia services.

or

      A national strategy is creating a framework to drive improvements in dementia services (6).

If you are unable to find either a named or corporate author, you should use ‘Anon' as the author name. Be careful: if you cannot find an author for online work, it is not a good idea to use this work as part of your research. It is essential that you know where a piece of work has originated, because you need to be sure of the quality and reliability of any information you use.

Citing from multimedia works

If you need to cite a multimedia work, you would usually use the title of the TV programme (including online broadcasts) or video recording, or title of the film (whether on DVD or video) as the author. If a video is posted on YouTube or other video-streaming web services then you should reference the person who uploaded the video (this might be a username).

Using the Vancouver style, you don't have to include the author in your citation in the text of your work, but you still need to include the author of the work in your reference list at the end of your work.

Citing from an interview or personal communication

Always use the surname of the interviewee/practitioner as the author.

Citing a direct quotation

If a direct quote from a book, article, etc. is used you must:

  • Use single quotation marks (double quotation marks are usually used for quoting direct speech)
  • State the page number

      It has been emphasised (2) that carers of diabetes sufferers ‘require perseverance and an understanding of humanity' (p. 1).

Duplication of charts, diagrams, pictures, etc.; should be treated as direct quotes and cited as described above.

Citing using a secondary reference

Secondary references are when an author refers to another author's work and the primary source is not available. When citing such work the author of the primary source and the author of the work it was cited in should be used.

      According to Colluzzi and Pappagallo as cited by Holding et al (7) most patients given opiates do not become addicted to such drugs.

Secondary referencing should be avoided wherever possible and you should always try to find the original work. If it is not possible to obtain the original work, reference the secondary source, not the primary source. Only reference the source that you have used.