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Vancouver citation style: Introduction

A guide to using the Vancouver citation style for in text citations and reference lists.

Introduction to the Vancouver Style at UWA

The Vancouver style is the preferred referencing style for most Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences courses. It is a numerical system.

This UWA guide to Vancouver is based on  Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors & publishers and AMA manual of style: a guide for authors and editors.

Printable version of guide (updated Aug 2019)

Please note: EndNote X8 Instructions are provided in this guide, for use with the style file: uwa_vancouver_v2019.ens

This style, and other UWA EndNote styles, can be downloaded from the UWA Library’s EndNote guide (

Understanding referencing

There are two main elements in the Vancouver citation style: in-text citations in your paper and the reference list at the end of your paper.

For more information on how to reference, including how to avoid plagiarism and academic misconduct, see the STUDYSmarter referencing guides:


The in-text citation:

A superscript number is inserted in your text at the point where you refer to (cite) your source of information. A consecutive number is allocated to each source as it is referred to for the first time. This number becomes the unique identifier of that source and is re-used each time that particular reference is cited in the text.

Use superscript numerals outside full stops and commas, inside colons and semicolons. When more than two references are cited at a given place, use hyphens to join the first and last numbers of a closed series; use commas without space to separate other parts of a multiple citation. Eg.:




* Note on author/editor names

Examples with author names in the text of the document:

One author: Doe7 reported on the survey...

Two authors: Avery and Williams5 research demonstrates...

More than two authors, or authors and a group: include the first author’s surname followed by “et al”, “and associates”, or “and colleagues”:

Doe et al9 reported on the survey....

Note: Do not use the possessive form 'et al's' - rephrase the sentence.


The reference list:

Every source which has an in-text citation should also be listed in the reference list at the end of your document. Reference list entries contain all the information that someone needs to follow up your source.

References are listed numerically at the end of the body of work. Agreed abbreviations for journal titles must be used and can be searched for from the National Library of Medicine's (US) PubMed website within their NLM catalog: Journals referenced in the NCBI database

If using Endnote you can install the Medicine Journal Terms List, which will includes over 14,000 journal title abbreviations. 

* Note on author/editor names

One to six authors/editors : List all in the reference list:

1. Avery M, Williams F. The importance of pharmacist providing patient education in oncology. J Pharm Pract [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2016 Jan 27];28(1):26-30. Available from: doi:10.1177/0897190014562382

More than six authors/editors: List the first six authors/editors then et al:

2. de Lima M, McNiece I, Robinson SN, Munsell M, Eapen M, Horowitz M, et al. Cord-blood engraftment with ex vivo mesenchymal-cell coculture. N Engl J Med. 2012;367(24):2305-15.

No author or editor: List the title first:

3. Prevention strategies for asthma: secondary prevention. CMAJ [Internet]. 2005 [cited 2016 Feb 3];173(6) Suppl:s25-7. Available from: 173/6_suppl/S25