Vancouver (Numbered) System

Introduction

A guide for undergraduate medical students of Leicester Medical School.

In the Vancouver Style, a number is assigned to each reference as it is used. Even if the author is named in your text, a number must still be used. The original number assigned to the reference is used each time that reference is cited in the text. The first reference you cite will be numbered 1 in the text, and the second reference you cite will be numbered 2, and so on. If you cite reference number 1 again later in the text, you will cite it using the number 1.

References are listed in numerical order in a bibliography at the end of your essay. The references in the bibliography must follow a set format: there are examples of this below.

The number can be placed outside the text punctuation to avoid disruption to the flow of the text, or be placed inside the text punctuation. The latter is preferred at Leicester.

The titles of journals should be abbreviated according the style used in Medline. Abbreviated titles can be found in the PubMed Journals Database

Use numbered citations in your text

Number references 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, like this: (1), (2). Do not use [square brackets] and do not make the citations superscript.

If you are citing more than one source at the same point, do this: (1-3), (1, 4)

How to add page numbers to citations

The style does not allow for this and so you cannot do it in RefWorks. If you do want to include a specific page number (for example if you have quoted or used a figure or table), put the page number in your text, for example:

John Sulston says “Natural justice urges that they should be used in an equitable way to benefit all, not only for profitable ends but also for work on the diseases of the poor” (p.400) (1)

And in your bibliography:

(1) Sulston J. Beyond release: the equitable use of genomic information. Lancet 2003 Aug 2;362(9381):400-402.

References in the bibliography

Only include something in the bibliography if you have cited it.

What to do in Refworks

Use the “Uniform - Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals” in RefWorks. This is a “University of Leicester Specific Style” and is therefore available to all users automatically. The “Vancouver” style is not kept up to date and does not treat some types of material correctly.

If you want to use EndNote, please ask us for advice on which style to use.

Journal articles

Stannard W, Rutman A, Wallis C, O'Callaghan C. Central microtubular agenesis causing primary ciliary dyskinesia. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004;169:634-7.

Titles of journals are abbreviated and are followed by a full stop. Use the abbreviation used in Medline and PubMed. There is a list at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=journals.

If the journal is not listed, you should use the full journal title. Do not make up your own abbreviation!

2004 is the year of publication, 169 the volume number and 634-7 the page numbers, that is, pages 634-637 - the second page number can be shortened in this way. You can omit the part number (unless the journal starts numbering the pages of each part at page 1 or the part is a supplement). You can also omit the issue date (e.g. Mar 1). To omit these things, you will need to remove that data from the record in RefWorks. However, it is acceptable to keep the part number and issue date.

List up to six authors. If there are more, then list the first six and et al.

If there are no authors, leave the author field in RefWorks blank. Do not use “Anon.” or “Anonymous”. For example:

Coffee drinking and cancer of the pancreas (Editorial). Br Med J. 1981;283:628

If you read the journal article online strictly speaking you should include the date you accessed it and the URL. You will need to make sure that this information is in RefWorks – make the Reference Type “Journal, Electronic”. For example:

Edelstein M, Pitchforth E, Asres G, Silverman M, Kulkarni N. Awareness of health effects of cooking smoke among women in the Gondar region of Ethiopia: A pilot survey. BMC Int Health Hum Rights [Internet]. 2008 Jul 18 [cited 6th June 2014];8:10,698X-8-10. Available from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/8/10.

Books

If the book has one author or set of authors throughout:
Thalange N. Essentials of paediatrics. 2nd ed. Oxford: Saunders; 2012.

If the book is an edited book:
Greenwood D, editor. Medical microbiology: A guide to microbial infections : Pathogenesis, immunity, laboratory diagnosis and control. 18th ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 2012.

A chapter in an edited book needs details of authors and title of chapter and editors and title of book:
Peiris JSM. Coronaviruses. In: Greenwood D, editor. Medical microbiology: a guide to microbial infections : pathogenesis, immunity, laboratory diagnosis and control. 18th ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 2012. p. 587-93.

Include the first six authors or editors. You may find, if you have imported the book details from the Library, that only the first three authors or editors are present. You can edit the record in RefWorks and add the others, but it is acceptable in these cases to list only the first three.

RefWorks has no Reference Type for an ebook, so you will need to cite an ebook as if it was a print book.

If you read the ebook on your iPad, cite it as if it was the print book.

Websites

Medecins sans Frontieres [Internet].; [cited 6th June 2014]. Available from: http://www.msf.org/.

If you cannot find a date of “publication” (as in the example above), leave the date field in RefWorks blank.

You cannot have authors on a website in the Uniform style. If you need to include an author, put it at the beginning of the title field in RefWorks.

Images, tables, figures

If you have used an image, figure or table, you need to cite a reference so that it is known If you have put your image in a text box, do not insert a citation in the text box itself, or you will find that the citations are numbered out of order. Put the citation in a caption outside the box. If you need to cite a page number, see “Adding page numbers to citations” above.

University of Leicester lecture notes or slides

The title of the source needs to make it clear that the source is lecture slides or a module handbook. So, for example, add to the title “Slides from a lecture given at Leicester Medical School on <date>...", or “Module handbook, Membranes and receptors, 2013/14”.

If you are using RefWorks, add the item manually as "personal communication" and put this extra information into the “Description” field. This will display in your bibliography.

For an author, use the lecturer’s name or the name of the module leaders. If you cannot determine who these people are, then use Leicester Medical School as the author.

NICE guidelines

If you read the printed version, treat as a book.

If you read the online version, treat it as a webpage. In Refworks put National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence at the start of the title as well as in the publisher field.

British National Formulary

Do not follow the guidance in the BNF itself as it omits vital information. Instead do this:

Otitis media. in: Joint Formulary Committee. British National Formulary. [49] ed. London: British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain [Internet]. [updated May 2014; cited 6th June 2014]. Available from: http://www.evidence.nhs.uk/formulary/bnf/current/12-ear-nose-and-oropharynx/121-drugs-acting-on-the-ear/1212-otitis-media.

Reports, for example, from the British Heart Foundation or Diabetes UK

If you read the print version, treat as a book.

If you read the online version, treat as a webpage. In Refworks include the name of the organisation at the start of the title.

Clinical Knowledge Summaries

Treat as a website. In Refworks put National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Clinical Knowledge Summaries at the start of the title and put the date of last update in the Last Updated, Full Date field.

Secondary referencing

This is where you have not seen a source, only a reference to it in another publication.

Secondary referencing should only be used on rare occasions and not employed as a matter of course. Do everything possible to find the original source, and reference the original source. If you have done everything you can to locate the original source and not succeeded, only found a reference to that source in another publication, then do this: in your text mention both authors, but only cite the source that you have read. For example, in your text:

Nockels, cited in Briggs (1), says…

And in your bibliography:

(1) Briggs, S. …

How often to cite a source?

If you have used a single source many times in one paragraph, do you need to cite the source each time you have used it?

It needs to be clear from your referencing which pieces of information you have taken from the source. However, it is best to avoid citing the same source many times in one paragraph. So, rather than this:

Primary glomerular disease affects only the kidney (2). Secondary disease affects other tissues (2).

Do this:

O’Callaghan (2) summarises the classification of glomerular disease. Primary disease affects only the kidney, but secondary disease affects other tissues in addition.

Want more help?

If you want to cite something that is not listed in this guide, try this:

International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals: Sample References, available from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/uniform_requirements.html.

If you cannot find what you need to know there, look at Citing Medicine, 2nd ed, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7256/.

Note that these two sources differ from each other (and possibly this guide) in minor points of detail!

If neither of these sources help, or you become confused, please contact the Library, libstem@le.ac.uk, tel. (0116) 252 3101.

Share this page:

Getting started!

Image of a start button

Need help finding books, eBooks and other items on your reading list?  Have a look at our getting started page.

Contact Us

Help

Book a librarian

Comments

We value your suggestions and feedback, please make a comment.