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Vancouver style

The Vancouver style, also known as the 'author-number' system, was prepared by The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

The committee held a meeting in Vancouver 1978 which resulted in the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, that are now the official guidelines for the Vancouver style.

The following document on referencing according to the Vancouver style is based on those guidelines.

The Vancouver style, with slight modifications, is also described in full detail in: American Medical Association manual of style: a guide for authors and editors. 9th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1998.
The notation that is used in the references (pages, chapters, editors and so on) is governed by the language of your own thesis and not the language of the sources to which you refer. The examples below are based on a thesis written in English.

Help with citing sources

These pages provide examples for citing sources according to the most common referencing styles.

The library does not provide proofreading of references, but we can guide you through the information summarized here.

Contact us via Ask the library.

You can also book an appointment with the Academic Resource Centre (Studieverkstaden) for more help with your oral and written assignments.

Citations in the text

In the running text the references are noted by numbers within parenthesies or square brackets in the order by which they appear for the first time in the text. If the same reference appears on several occasions in the text, it is represented with the same number as the first time.


Rapid malaria diagnosis, a key component of malaria control strategies, is hampered by the expense and training requirements of reliable microscopy (1). Rapid malaria antigen tests may improve the diagnosis of malaria in the rural tropics (2-3). After 1 h training 64 village health volunteers from rural Laos, with no previous laboratory experience, performed two malaria rapid diagnostic tests accurately (1, 4).

Manage your references with EndNote

The reference list

The reference list should include all (published) material used in the thesis. Therefore, background material or further reading material which is not referred to in the running text should not be included.
The references are presented in numerical order last in the document and each reference usually contains author, title and publishing information.

Authors and editors

Note the first six authors. If there are more than six authors, the last of these six should be followed by "et al.". Note the surname (last name) and first name initials. Use a comma to separate each author. State the full name form of organizations, public authorities etc. Editors are noted in the same position as authors, but with the addition of editor/editors after the names.


Only the first word of the title, proper names (personal and organizational names) and abbreviations (like HIV, UN, DNA etc.) are noted with an initial capital letter. Subtitles are not capitalized. Journal names are abbreviated according a standardized system (Index Medicus) that can be found here:


Note the publication place, publisher and publication year. Journal articles are noted with volume number, publishing year and pages. If a journal uses running page numbering through all issues of each volume, month and number may be omitted. Newspaper date and page numbers are noted. For articles accepted for publication but not yet published, "in press" is noted.

Reference examples


Author AA. Title. Place of publication: Publisher; Publication year.
Rang HP, Dale MM, Ritter JM, Moore PK. Pharmacology. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 2003.

Book in new edition
Sherlock S, Dooley J. Diseases of the liver and biliary system. 11th ed. Oxford: Blackwell Science; 2002.

Book with editors
Aron JL, Patz JA, editors. Ecosystem change and public health: a global perspective. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press; 2001.

Book chapter
Svensson L. Skills in learning. In: Marton F, Hounsell D, Entwistle N, editors. The experience of learning. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press; 1984. p. 56-70.
Blaxter PS, Farnsworth TP. Social health and class inequalities. In: Carter C, Peel JR, editors. Equalities and inequalities in health. 2nd ed. London: Academic Press; 1976. p. 165-78.

Book with an organization as author
Royal Adelaide Hospital; University of Adelaide, Department of Clinical Nursing. Compendium of nursing research and practice development, 1999-2000. Adelaide (Australia): Adelaide University; 2001.
United Nations.  Increasing the production and use of edible protein: feeding the expanding world population. New York: The Committe; 2000.

Journal articles

Author AA, Author BB, Author CC. Article title. Journal name. Publishing year;volume(number):pages.

Journal article, running page numbering
Blitz CL, Mechanic D. Faciliatiors and barriers to employment among individuals with psychiatric disabilities: a job coach perspective. Work. 2006;26:407-419.

Journal article, numbered by issue
Bell V. On the critique of secular ethics: an essay with Flannery O´Connor and Hannah Arendt. Theory, Culture & Society. 2005;22(2):1-27.

Journal article, more than six authors
Mayxay M, Newton PN, Yeung S, Pongvongsa T, Phompida S, Phetsouvanh R, et al. Short communication: an assessment of the use of malaria rapid tests by village health volunteers in rural Laos. Trop Med Int Health. 2004;9(3):325-9.

Newspaper articles

With author, numbered by newspaper supplement Anderberg, T. . Music and chaos. Daily News. 2007 5 July;Culture:4-5.

Other material

Research reports
Miyamoto D, Whittaker DH. The book publishing industry in Japan and the UK. Cambridge: ESRC Centre for Business Research; 2005. ESRC Centre for Business Research Working Paper Series, No. 309.

SOU, Ds, parliamentary publications and laws 
Since the Vancouver style has an American perspective it is hard to find guiding rules for referring to Swedish legal and parliamentary material. However, below are some examples on how such references could be stated.

SOU and Ds
SOU and Ds are treated like a report with an organization as author if a committee or something similar is stated clearly. Should this be missing, the report is treated like a publication with no author.

Havsmiljökommisionen. Havet: tid för en ny strategi: betänkande. Stockholm: Fritze; 2003. Statens offentliga utredningar 2003:72

Från socialbidrag till arbete: betänkande av Utredningen från socialbidrag till arbete.  Stockholm: Fritze; 2007. Statens offentliga utredningar 2007:2.

Äldres arbetsutbud och möjligheter till sysselsättning: en kunskapsöversikt. Stockholm: Finansdepartementet; 2007. Ds departementsserien 2007:21.

Parliamentary publications
Tillsyn över hundar och katter. Stockholm: Jordbruksdepartementet; 2007. Regeringens proposition 2006/07:126.

Legal references
From certain aspects, referring to legal material is different from that of other types of material. In general, constitutions and other laws should contain the popular or formal title/name of the law, together with the publication year and the place of publication. For Swedish material it could look like the following examples below:

Personuppgiftslag (SFS 1998:204). Stockholm: Justitiedepartementet. alternatively SFS 1998:204. Personuppgiftslag. Stockholm: Justitiedepartementet.

Lag (1947:529) om allmänna barnbidrag (SFS). Stockholm: Socialdepartementet. alternatively SFS 1947:529. Lag (1947:529) om allmänna barnbidrag. Stockholm: Socialdepartementet.

Conference papers
Lambertz, G. “Honour killing" and their export to the west. In: Modvar E, Lødrup P, editors. Family life and human rights: papers presented at the 11th World Conference of the International Society of Family Law. Oslo: Gyldendal; 2004. p. 417-426.

Conference publications
Modvar E, Lødrup P, editors. Family life and human rights: papers presented at the 11th World Conference of the International Society of Family Law. Oslo: Gyldendal; 2004.

Encyclopedias and dictionaries
The entry word is also included in the reference (in this example "Apraxia"): Stedman's medical dictionary. 26th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1995. Apraxia; p. 119-20.  

Electronic sources

It is important to state where the document is found (te URL for example) and the date it was accessed.

Grönlund, M, Pönni, V. Financial Performance of Commercial Radio in Sweden: 1999-2005. Jönköping: Media Management and Transformation Centre; 2007 [accessed 2007-07-04]. Available at:

Swedish health care: fact sheet. Stockholm: Swedish Institute; 2007 [cited 2007 July 4]. Available at:

Content updated 2018-09-24

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