Vancouver Citation Style

When writing academic papers, it is important to credit the author of any information (direct quotations, paraphrasing, code, data, etc.) that is not your own, original work. In order to acknowledge another person’s idea, cite your sources both in-text and in your reference section. Failing to do so constitutes plagiarism.

Vancouver Citation Style

The Vancouver style of citation was established in 1978 by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Vancouver style is formally known as Recommendations for Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals. It is also known as Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts submitted to Biomedical Journals. Vancouver style citation is most commonly used in medicine and science.

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

Source information is acknowledged in two ways:

  1. In-text citations when referencing someone else’s work. References are numbered and in superscript, e.g. Smith1
  2. A sequentially numbered reference list at the end of your work providing full details of all references used in-text.

The reference list must be ordered numerically, as the citations appear in text (Not in alphabetical order).


In-text Vancouver citation

"... findings disclosed in the study confirmed the initial hypothesis1."

Full citation within reference list

1. 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.

Both in-text citations and a reference list are required for proper Vancouver citations.

Note: This resource is a guide - not an authoratative manual - based on Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (2nd edition). If you do not know how to cite a particular item, or are citing an item not found in this guide, consult your course instructor or Citing Medicine, 2nd Ed.

To learn how to cite using Vancouver style, follow the links in this guide.

References used to compile this guide include: 

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:

Content last reviewed: February 20, 2019