Referencing Styles

A guide to the reference styles used at the University of St Andrews

About Vancouver referencing style

The Vancouver referencing style uses numerical citations throughout a document and a Reference List at the end.  It was created in 1978 at the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors conference in Vancouver, and has come to be known as the Vancouver style.  It is primarily used in biomedical, health and some science subjects.

Numberical citations - Numerical references are given within the text either:

  • Number in brackets e.g. (1)
  • Superscripted number, linked to the full citation in the Reference List 

If you cite the same source more than once, use the same citation number for all citations.

In-text numbers are matched to an entry in the Reference List

Reference List:

  • Comes at the end of your document (on a new page);
  • Lists all the sources you have cited;
  • Lists publications in the order they are given in your text (not alphabetically), giving a numerical reference followed by the full reference for the publication you are citing
  • Contains full details of the sources you have cited.

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommend that the book Citing Medicine produced by the National Library of Medicine be used as the definitive source for Vancouver when formatting the Reference List.

Citing Medicine is freely available to download

Citing Medicine book cover