Healthcare Writing

Colleen Shannon, Freelance Medical Writer

Vancouver references

How to use the Vancouver referencing style

If you're an experienced medical writer, you'll already know that documenting your sources is a crucial part of the job. There are different formats for presenting your citations. Sometimes, this is set out in house style guidelines. Other times, the choice is up to you.

The Vancouver style of referencing is favoured by many medical journals. The references are numbered throughout the text, and the citations are listed in this numbered order at the end of your piece.

As an example, a journal article would look like this:

McAlpine L, Selamaj E, Shannon C, Chis L, Dacre J, Elder A. UK postgraduate medicine examinations: opportunities for international candidates. Clin Med. 2014;14(5):500-5.

So in general that's:

First six authors (surname, first initial) followed by 'et al' if there are more authors. Title of paper. Title of journal with approved abbreviation. Year; volume (issue number): page numbers.

You can bookmark this page and come back to it any time you need a reminder. This is only a very general guide and you will need more details for your medical writing project. For further information, and rules on citing other types of source material, see the guidelines from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.