Vancouver (Numbered) System
- Use Numbered Citations in your text
- How to add page numbers to citations
- References in the bibliography
- What to do in Refworks
- Journal articles
- Images, tables, figures
- University of Leicester lecture notes or slides
- NICE guidelines
- British National Formulary
- Clinical Knowledge Summaries
- Religious texts
- Secondary referencing
- How often to cite a source?
- Want more help?
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
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)
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):400-2.
Only include something in the bibliography if you have cited it.
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 contact us for advice.
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. Available from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/8/10.
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.
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.
If you have used an image, table or figure, you must cite a reference so that your readers know where you obtained it from. Add a caption, for example:
Figure 1. The clavicle, from Nockels, 2015 (1)
Table 1. Length of stay by patient age, adapted from Briggs, 2015 (2)
Numbering your figures and tables makes it easier to refer to them in your text. You can right click on the image and use Word’s “Insert Caption”, but you cannot use RefWorks to generate the table and figure numbers.
Use RefWorks to insert the citation number. The reference will then appear in the bibliography.
Please note that there may be a problem inserting the citation if the caption is in a text box. Citations may be numbered out of order. To avoid the problem, put the caption outside the text box.
If you need to include a page number in your citation, 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.
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.
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.  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.
Everything from Otitis media to of Great Britain goes into the title field in RefWorks.
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.
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.
Matthew 5: 3-12, Holy Bible. New International Version.
Include the version but no need for a date of publication or publisher.
Qur'an 20: 26. Translated by Abdel Haleem, M.A.S. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2010.
These recommendations are based on those in:
Pears R, Shields GJ. Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 9th ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan; 2013.
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. …
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).
O’Callaghan (2) summarises the classification of glomerular disease. Primary disease affects only the kidney, but secondary disease affects other tissues in addition.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. (0116) 252 3101.