Vancouver General Style Notes

Before selecting a referencing style check with your tutor, lecturer or supervisor for the style preferred by the School or Department.

Introduction to the style

This version of the Vancouver style uses a numeric system of in-text referencing. A consecutive number is assigned to each reference as it is cited in the text. If a source is cited again in the text the reference number remains the same.

References are presented in two ways:

  1. A reference list (or bibliography) at the end of the work.
  2. In text citations.

Three major systems of in-text references can be used: citation-sequence, citation-name, and name-year. This guide refers only to the citation-sequence (numeric) system of in-text referencing. In this system numbers are used in the text to refer to the reference list.

Access to the full style manual

This guide is based on Patrias K. Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers [Internet]. 2nd ed. Wendling DL, technical editor. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007 [updated 2009 Oct 21; cited 2011 Feb 18].

The full style manual is available as a library eBook from the University of Melbourne library. The full style manual is not available as a library print book.Consult the official manual for more information.

In-text citations

  • References are numbered in the order they first appear in the text.
  • Assigned numbers are re-used each time a particular reference is cited.
  • Citation numbers can be superscripts e.g. "…was the most significant.4" or in round brackets e.g. "…was the most significant.(4)".
  • When citing multiple references join inclusive numbers using a hyphen e.g. (2-5). If numbers are non-inclusive separate with commas. e.g. (2,4,7,10).

Reference list

  • A reference list should include all (directly quoted or paraphrased) sources cited, a bibliography should include all sources consulted, whether or not they are directly quoted or paraphrased.
  • Entries are listed numerically (the same order that they are cited in the text).
  • Capitalise only the first word of a title (as well as words that would normally begin with a capital letter).
  • If no author or editor can be identified, begin the reference with the title.
  • Commonly used words in publisher names may be abbreviated. For example: Dept. for Department.
  • Place of publication:
    • If the publisher is located in more than one city: cite the city that is printed first.
    • For cities that are not well known follow with the country name either written out in full or as the ISO country code. For example: Melbourne (Australia) OR Melbourne (AU).
    • If no place of publication can be found but can reasonably be inferred, place the city in square brackets. e.g. [Melbourne].
  • If no publisher can be found, use [publisher unknown].
  • If no date of publication can be found, use the copyright date preceded with ‘c’ c2010. If no copyright date can be found, use [date unknown].