Using Vancouver Style

The Uniform Requirements suggest the bibliographic style formats that were developed for uniformity by the NLM. Because of its origin, this reference style is termed Vancouver style. Since Vancouver style continues to gain broad acceptance, this format is almost always the bibliographic style of choice (see also 5.5, The "House Style" of Journals).

Unless the journal specifies a different convention, references should be numbered consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. Identify references in text, tables, and legends by Arabic numerals in parentheses. The titles of journals should be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus. Consult the List of Journals Indexed in Index Medicus, published annually as a separate publication by the library and as a list in the January issue of Index Medicus. The list can also be obtained through the library's Web site (

For standard journal articles, list the first six authors followed by et al.:

£ Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL. Solid -organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jul 25347(4^284-287. Rose ME, Huerbin MB, Melick J, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Regulation of interstitial excitatory amino acid concentrations after cortical contusion injury. Brain Res. 2002;935(i-2):40-46.

As an option, the month and issue number may be omitted if a journal carries continuous pagination throughout a volume (as many medical journals do):

9 Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL. Solid -organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-287.

If no author is given, state the title and journal details as follows:

^ 21st Century heart solution may have a sting in the tail. BMJ. 2002; 325(7357):I84.

For volumes or issues with supplements, state "suppl" where appropriate:

^ Geraud G, Spierings EL, Keywood C. Tolerability and safety of frovatriptan with short- and long-term use for treatment of migraine and in comparison with sumatriptan. Headache. 2002;42 Suppl 2:S93-S99.

Glauser TA. Integrating clinical trial data into clinical practice. Neurology. 2002;58(i2 Suppl 7):S6-Si2.

Consult the current version of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (available from for more details, e.g., for references without issue or volume, or for articles containing retraction.

The style used for citing books depends on whether personal author(s) or editor(s) as authors are given:

£ Murray PR, Rosenthal KS, Kobayashi GS, Pfaller MA. Medical microbiology. 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2002.

Gilstrap LC 3rd, Cunningham FG, VanDorsten JP, editors. Operative obstetrics. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2002.

The format used for chapters in a book is as follows:

^ Meitzer PS, Kallioniemi A, Trent JM. Chromosome alterations in human solid tumors. In: Vogelstein B, Kinzler KW, editors. The genetic basis of human cancer. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2002. p. 93-113.

Conference proceedings and conference papers often cause difficulties. Examples are shown below:

Harnden P, Joffe JK, Jones WG, editors. Germ cell tumours V. Proceedings of the 5th Germ Cell Tumour Conference; 2001 Sep 13-15; Leeds, UK. New York: Springer; 2002.

Christensen S, Oppacher F. An analysis of Koza's computational effort statistic for genetic programming. In: Foster JA, Lutton E, Miller J, Ryan C, Tettamanzi AG, editors. Genetic programming. EuroGP 2002: Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Genetic Programming; 2002 Apr 3-5; Kinsdale, Ireland. Berlin: Springer; 2002. p. 182-91.

For details on how to quote a scientific or technical report, dissertation, or patent, consult the current version of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals ( Similarly, the guidelines provide information on citing other published material, such as dictionaries, newspaper articles, audiovisual material, or legal material.

Avoid citing abstracts or personal communications unless they provide essential information not available from a public source. In this case, the name of the person and date of communication should be cited in parentheses in the text. For scientific articles, authors should obtain written permission and confirmation of accuracy from the source of a personal communication.

Special attention should be paid to the citation of unpublished material. Unpublished material may include abstracts or articles presented at a society meeting (oral presentation or poster presentation) as well as material accepted for publication but not yet published. Unpublished items presented at a meeting should be indicated as such.

^ Miller AB. Correlation between leisure activities and school performance in primary school children. Paper presented at: Annual Meeting of the Association of Childhood Psychology; April 16, 2004; London, UK.

Information from manuscripts submitted but not accepted should be cited in the text as "unpublished observations" with written permission from the source. For references to material accepted for publication but not yet published, the journal title is followed by "in press" or "forthcoming," depending on the journal's house style. (Note: NLM prefers "forthcoming" because not all items will be printed.)

Authors should obtain written permission to cite such papers as well as verification that the manuscript has been accepted for publication.

^ Tian D, Araki H, Stahl E, Bergelson J, Kreitman M. Signature of balancing selection in Arabidopsis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. In press 2002.

With the increased exchange of electronic material and the broad acceptance of such information, you can use online designation of articles or other published information if appropriate.

^ Abood S. Quality improvement initiative in nursing homes: the ANA acts in an advisory role. Am J Nurs [serial on the Internet]. 2002 Jun [cited 2002 Aug I2];i02(6):[about 3 p.].

Available from: htm

If you cite programs or computer files, the nature of such material should be indicated in square brackets:

^ Anderson SC, Poulsen KB. Anderson's electronic atlas of hematology [CD-ROM]. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2002.

Q For quoting published or unpublished information, consult the journal's house style and follow the reference style consistently. If no specific guidelines are given, use Vancouver style.

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