NLM/Vancouver Citation Style

Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (2nd Edition) is the style guide of the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM). Its main focus is citation style and bibliographic style. The citation style of Citing Medicine is the current incarnation of the Vancouver system

The Vancouver system, also known as Vancouver reference style or the author–number system, is a citation style that uses numbers within the text that refer to numbered entries in the reference list. It is popular in the physical sciences and is one of two referencing systems normally used in medicine.

Vancouver style is a numbered citation style. Each reference is assigned a number according to order of use within a document.

The following sections of the guide will be of use for your citation practices:

Recommended Resources

Patrias K. Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers [Internet]. 2nd ed. Wendling DL, technical editor. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007 - [updated 2015 Oct 2; cited 2019 Mar 15]. Available from:

Samples of Formatted References for Authors of Journal Articles - U.S. National Library of Medicine:

Citing and Referencing: Vancouver - Monash University:

Tips for Reference List

Include a reference list of all cited sources at the end of your report. References must be ordered numerically in order of citation, not alphabetically.

Formatting your reference list

  • Place your reference list at the end of your document
  • Begin the reference list on a new page with the title "References" centered in the page
  • List references in numerical order, and in the order they appear in text
  • Only include reference which you have cited in your text
  • See the sample reference list below


  • Abbreviate all journal titles in your reference list. Consult the NLM Catalog for style of abbreviations.
  • For other commonly used abbreviations such as country codes, states, and provinces, consult the Appendix section of Citing Medicine, 2nd Ed.
  • This guide is divided by source format, as all punctuation, dates, and page numbers depend on the type of reference cited (i.e. Book, journal, e-book, thesis, etc). Each section contains basic guidelines and citation examples.

Sample Reference List


1. Williamson GR, Whittaker A. Succeeding in Literature Reviews and Research Project Plans for Nursing Students. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: SAGE/Learning Matters; 2014. 198 p.

2. HIV/AIDs resources: a nationwide directory. 10th ed. Longmont (CO): Guides for Living; c2004. 792 p.

3. Petitti DB, Crooks VC, Buckwalter JG, Chiu V. Blood pressure levels before dementia. Arch Neurol. 2005 Jan;62(1):112-6.

4. Hallal AH, Amortegui JD, Jeroukhimov IM, Casillas J, Schulman CI, Manning RJ, et al. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography accurately detects common bile duct stones in resolving gallstone pancreatitis. J Am Coll Surg. 2005 Jun;200(6):869-75.

5. Ottawa Public Health. Ottawa public health blog [Internet]. c2019 - [cited 2019 Mar 7]. Available from:

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