References Vancouver-Style or the Uniform Requirements for Authors

Vancouver-Style Documentation: Online Resources
Also known as the Uniform Requirements, the guidelines for Vancouver-style (or numerical) referencing were originally published by a group of editors in Vancouver, British Columbia in the late 1970s (hence the name). They are frequently used when submitting articles to medical, biomedical and other scientific journals, and are now developed by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).
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Fortunately, several free resources are available online to help authors with the use of Vancouver-style documentation. The ICMJE Sample References at consist of a fairly extensive list of complete references (appropriate in reference lists) for a variety of different kinds of sources. More extensive and far more detailed is the information on full references provided in Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (2nd edn), which is available at The book is open to all viewers, and its chapters and sections can be used online or downloaded as pdf files.

More succinct pdf guides to Vancouver-style documentation are also available online, with examples including Citing and Referencing: Vancouver Citation Style at (Vancouver Community College); and the Vancouver Reference Style Guide at (OpenJournals Publishing). All four of these resources include information and advice on citing and quoting sources in the main text of a paper as well as preparing a list of references, and the author instructions of journals that use Vancouver-style documentation usually do as well.

Keep in mind as you prepare the references in your article that resources on Vancouver style tend to vary somewhat in the details they specify, and the guidelines provided by particular journals are no exception. Some, for instance, recommend that reference numbers appear as superscript Arabic numerals in the main text of a paper, while others place in-text reference numbers in square brackets or parentheses. The last (reference numerals in parentheses) is the format encouraged in the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (available for use online and as a pdf at This document also provides ethical and technical information about writing and publishing scholarly work in the medical sciences that may prove helpful for more than constructing references as you write up your research for publication as journal articles.

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