The Vancouver Referencing Style

A system for referencing and citing sources, the Vancouver writing style was developed by ICMJE (the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors). It is also often referred to as the “author number” referencing system. 

Creating the Vancouver References List

It is important you include every published source you use in an academic paper in an end-of-paper reference list. Hence, any additional texts or background information you have read or consulted do not need to be included if these have not been referred to in within your text. 

Entries in a reference list should be given a number and placed within the list in sequential order, and it is usual for each one to include the name of the author, the title of the work, and other publication-related information.

Author and Editor Information

How to cite the authors of a text where the number of authors exceeds six: List the names of the first six and place the term “et al” after the last name. Names should be listed in the order of last name or surname first followed by the initials of the author’s first name(s). Authors’ names should be separated by a comma. Where the author is a public authority, organization, or similar, you should provide the authority or organization’s full title or name. The names of editors should be positioned in the same way as the names of authors, but you should follow the name with the word “editor” or “editors.”

How to List a Work’s Title

You should only provide the first meaningful word of a work’s title. The first letter of proper names (the names of persons and organizations) and the first letters of words in the fully-spelt out version of abbreviated names e.g. UN, NATO, DNA, and so on should be capitalized. You should not capitalize subtitles. The names of journals should be abbreviated in accordance with standardized guides or systems such as Index Medicus.

How to Deal with Publishing/Publication Information

You should include the place of publication in your entry as well as the name of the publisher and the year of publication. When listing articles from journals, include the volume number, the year of publication, and the page number(s) or page range. Where journals have continuous page numbers running through each volume and associated issues, you can leave out the page number and month. The dates and page numbers for newspapers should be included, and the words “in press” should be used in the case of articles that are approved but awaiting publication.   

The Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals were agreed at a 1978 committee meeting in Vancouver and, since then, these constitute the official rules of the Vancouver referencing style.  

We have based this guide on the Vancouver referencing style according to the above-mentioned rules.  

The American Medical Association manual of style: a guide for authors and editors (9th edition published in Baltimore in 1998 by Williams & Wilkins) with some modification also describes the Vancouver referencing style in considerable detail.

Any notations used in references (i.e. any notes about editors, pages, sections, chapters, etc.) should follow the choice or style of language used in your particular paper rather than that of any sources you are referring to. The following examples are fictional and are founded on an English language thesis.

In-Text Citations

In running text, you should give each reference a parenthesized number (or place the number in square brackets) in sequential order according to the reference’s first appearance in your text. If you use one reference several times, you should reuse the number you first gave it.

Fictional Examples

The rapid diagnosis of malaria, a vital control strategy, is hindered by the cost of accurate microscopy and the training required for this type of diagnosis (1). If antigen tests could be undertaken rapidly, diagnosing malaria in the tropics could be improved (2-4). Following one hours’ worth of training, 65 volunteers from a rural Laos village accurately conducted three diagnostic tests, even though they had no former lab experience (1, 5).   

Fictional Examples of Reference

Book References

Books
Author XX. Book Title. Publication place: Publisher’s name; Year published.
Spring TP, Chung AD, Greggs CJ, Miller PH. Psychologist. London: Churchill Press; 2010.

New Edition Book
Williams P, White C. Liver and biliary diseases. 10th ed. Cambridge: Medical Science; 2012.

Books with Editor/Editors
Allan CA, Fitz HE, editors. Public health and ecosystem dependence: an international perspective. New York: Manhattan College Press; 2011.

Chapter of a Book
Thomson M. Learning skills. In: Hall S, Greene C, Lavin K, editors. The learning experience. Newcastle: North East University Press; 1991. p. 66-80.
Cawley AD, Hastings WS. Public health and social inequalities. In: Baxter J, Hall SE, editors. Equality and inequality in public health. 3rd ed. Manchester: University Press; 1982. p. 142-55.

Books Authored by Organizations
Royal Hospital of Perth; Perth University, Clinical Nursing Department. Compilation of nursing practices and latest developments in research, 2000-2001. Perth (Australia): Perth; 2002.
World Health Organization. Increasing production and encouraging use of edible proteins: providing food for the world’s growing population. San Francisco: The Food Committe; 2010.

Articles from Journals

Author XX, Author YY, Author ZZ. Title of article. Name of journal name. Year of publishing;volume(number):page number(s).

Journal Articles with Running Page Numbers
Flood ED, Mason D. Obstacles and faciliatiors to employing people with psychiatric illnesses: a career coach’s perspective. Employment. 2010;14:318-330.

Journal Articles with Numbered According to Issue
Hall B. A critique of secular morals: essay by Jason Manning and Eleanor Cooper. Society, Culture, and Theory. 2009;31(3):2-28.

Journal Articles where the Number of Author Exceeds Six
Taylor P, Whiteley AJ, Cheung W, Chantrelle C, Khan H, Greenway B, et al. Short article: Evaluation of whether local volunteers can be effective in testing for malaria. Tropical Medical Health. 2010;7(4):216-20.

Citing Articles from Newspapers

Articles with Authors where Page Numbers are ordered by Supplement

Bell, C. Chaos and music. Weekly News. 2010 8 August;Entertainment:2-3.

Other Types of Material

Research essays and reports
Michio K, Selby EB. The research publishing sector in UK and Japan. Oxford: IBRC International Business Research Centre; 2008. IBRC International Business Research Centre Work In Progress Series, No. 218.

Ds, SOUs, Parliamentary and Legal Publications
Because there is an American slant to the Vancouver referencing style, it is difficult to find rules or guidelines for people who need to reference any parliamentary or legal materials pertaining to Sweden. The following, however, are a few examples showing how you could reference such materials.

Ds and SOUs
It is permissible to treat Ds and SOUs in the same way as a report authored by a public body or organization where a panel, committee or similar is clearly stated. If this is not available, you can treat the report as you would a publication without an author.

The Commission for Marine Life. The ocean: Time to develop new strategies. report. Stockholm: Hellsman; 2009. Governmental public inquiries 2009:65

From benefits to the workplace: report on the inquiry into moving from benefits back to work. Stockholm: Hellsman; 2009. Governmental public inquiries 2010:42.

Opportunities for employment and the supply of older workers: an overview of current knowledge. Stockholm: Finance Ministry; 2011. Ds office series 2011:19.

Citing Publications from Parliament

Guide for supervising domestic animals. Stockholm: Agriculture department; 2010. Government proposal 2008/10:211.

Citing Legal Materials

In certain respects, the referencing of legal materials differs from the way other materials are referenced. Generally, constitutions and other types of laws and legal matters should include the formal or popular name or title of the respective law, along with the year of publication and the publication place. The following are examples of how Swedish materials could be presented:  

Personal Information Act (SFS 2000:198). Stockholm. Justice Department. Alternatively, this could be presented as: SFS 2000: 198. Personal Information Act. Stockholm. Justice Department.

Law (1951: 487) on financial support for children (SFS). Stockholm: Social Protection Department. This could alternatively be presented as SFS 1951: 487. Law (1951: 487) on financial support for children. Social Protection Department.

How to Cite Conference Reports/Papers

Gamble, M. “Avenging Honour” and the export of these practices to western society. In: Jensen B, Eriksson V, editors. Human rights and family matters: reports delivered at the 10th International Conference of Family and Child Law. Oslo: Norway Publishing; 2006. p. 301-310.

How to Cite Publications from Conferences

Jensen B, Eriksson V, editors. Human rights and family matters: papers delivered at the 11th International Conference of Family and Child Law. Oslo: Norway Publishing; 2006.

How to Cite Entries from Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

You should also include the word from the dictionary or encyclopedia in your reference. The example here is the word “aphasia.” International medical encyclopedia. 10th ed. New York: Chase and Chapman; 2001. Aphasia; p. 121-122.     

Citing Electronic Materials

You should say where you found the source (for instance, the URL) and the access date.

Citing Reports

Wallström, K, Bäck C. Evaluation of the Commercial Performance of Swedish Radio Stations: 2000-2006. Köping: Centre for Managing and Transforming Media; 2007 [accessed 2008-04-05].

Citing a Website

National healthcare in Sweden: fact checker. Stockholm: Institute of Swedish Health; 2010 [cited 2010 August 8].