The numbers in text are in superscript1 and occur at the end of the clause in which you used the information. They occur outside “quotation marks,”2 commas,3 (parentheses)4 and full stops.5 However, they occur inside semicolons6; and colons7:
Do not leave a space between the last letter or punctuation mark and the number.
Re-use numbers for the same citation
Citations should be numbered sequentially – that is, the first source you cite is 1, the second source is 2 and so on.
However, once you have given a source a number, it will keep that number throughout your paper. So, if you use your first source again, no matter how often you use it, it is still 1.
Citing more than one work at a time
Use commas to show that more than one work is being cited, and use hyphens for several works that would be numbered sequentially:
These side effects can have implications for the patient's mental health, as numerous studies have shown.1,3,6-9
Relationship between in-text citations and reference list
Your reference list follows the order of the numbers used in the text. The first source you cite in the text is 1 and the reader will look for number 1 in the reference list to find the full citation; the fifth source you use is 5 and the full citation is listed at number 5 in the reference list (and so on).
Using author's names in-text:
If including an author in the text of a sentence, use the surnames of authors and add the citation number after the author’s surname.
Use this format if:
You will need (minimum information in bold):
Standard article pattern (print):
Author AA, Author BB. Title of article. Journal Abbreviation. Year;volume(issue):pp-pp.
Standard article pattern (electronic):
Author AA, Author BB. Title of article. Journal Abbreviation. Year;volume(issue):pp-pp. DOI or URL. Accessed Month DD, YYYY.
What's a DOI? Read this explanation from Citing Medicine.
NB: One word titles are never abbreviated, and the complete word in a title can always be used if an abbreviation cannot be found.
If there are six authors/editors or less, include the names of all authors/editors.
If there are more than six authors/editors, include the first three names, then shorten with et al.
1. Hallal AH, Amortegui JD, Jeroukhimov IM, et al. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography accurately detects common bile duct stones in resolving gallstone pancreatitis. J Am Coll Surg. 2005;200(6):869-75.
These rules also apply to editors, translators and other people who need to be cited for the source.
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