The Vancouver system, also known as the "author-number" system, is a way of writing references in academic papers. It is popular in the physical sciences, and is one of two referencing systems normally used in medicine, the other being the author-date, or "Harvard", system.
The Vancouver system takes its name from a meeting in Vancouver, BC, Canada, in 1978 that led to the establishment of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). This was further developed by the National Library of Medicine in the U.S. whose version "should be considered as the authoritative style" according to the British Medical Association (BMA).
The 2007 ICMJE edition, at paragraph IV.A.9.b. Reference Style and Format, refers to the detailed style guide as the NLM's Citing Medicine. Several versions of the Uniform Requirements were published, including the 1991 BMJ publication, the 1995 CMAJ publication and the 1997 Annals of Internal Medicine publication. Journals were asked to cite the 1997 JAMA version when reprinting the Uniform requirements. As of 2004, the editors of Haematologica decided simply to "invite" their authors to visit www.icmje.org for the 2003 revision of the Uniform requirements.
Format of citations
Different formats exist for different types of sources, e.g. books, journal articles etc. Author names are abbreviated to at most two initials. Although Citing Medicine does not explicitly mandate merging initials (e.g. "R. K." would be merged into "RK"), the examples used throughout the book do.
Standard journal articles
- Leurs R, Church MK, Taglialatela M. H1-antihistamines: inverse agonism, anti-inflammatory actions and cardiac effects. Clin Exp Allergy. 2002 Apr;32(4):489-98.
As an option, if a journal carries continuous pagination throughout a volume (as many medical journals do), the month and issue number may be omitted:
- Thomas MC. Diuretics, ACE inhibitors and NSAIDs – the triple whammy. Med J Aust. 2000;172:184–185.
If there are more than six authors, the first six authors are listed followed by "et al.":
- Guilbert TW, Morgan WJ, Zeiger RS, Mauger DT, Boehmer SJ, Szefler SJ, et al. Long-term inhaled corticosteroids in preschool children at high risk for asthma. N Engl J Med. 11 May 2006;354(19):1985–97.
Note, however, that the NLM lists all authors for articles.
As an option, a unique identifier from a database may be added to the citation:
- von Itzstein M, Wu WY, Kok GB, Pegg MS, Dyason JC, Jin B, et al. Rational design of potent sialidase-based inhibitors of influenza virus replication. Nature. 1993 Jun 3;363(6428):418-23. Cited in PubMed; PMID 8502295.
Articles not in English
As per journal articles in English:
- Forneau E, Bovet D. Recherches sur l'action sympathicolytique d'un nouveau dérivé du dioxane. Arch Int Pharmacodyn. 1933;46:178-91. French.
The NLM adds an English translation of the title enclosed in square brackets right after the title. The language is specified in full after the location (pagination), followed by a period.
- Rang HP, Dale MM, Ritter JM, Moore PK. Pharmacology. 5th ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 2003.
Editor(s) or compiler(s) as authors
- Beers MH, Porter RS, Jones TV, Kaplan JL, Berkwits M, editors. The Merck manual of diagnosis and therapy. 18th ed. Whitehouse Station (NJ): Merck Research Laboratories; 2006.
Authored chapter in edited publication
- Glennon RA, Dukat M. Serotonin receptors and drugs affecting serotonergic neurotransmission. In: Williams DA, Lemke TL, editors. Foye's principles of medicinal chemistry. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2002.
- Drug-interactions.com [homepage on the Internet]. Indianapolis: Indiana University Department of Medicine; 2003 [updated 17 May 2006; cited 30 May 2006]. Available from: http://medicine.iupui.edu/flockhart/
- Reference styles: Harvard and Vancouver [Retrieved 2013-03-01].
- International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Sample References, United States National Library of Medicine, retrieved 2013-03-01
- International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Sample References [Retrieved 2006 Dec 24].
- Citing Medicine. 2007 [Retrieved 2012 October 25].
- Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 1991;302(6772):338–41. doi:10.1136/bmj.302.6772.338. PMID 2001512.
- Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 1995;152(9):1459–73. PMID 7728695.
- Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors [Free full text]. Annals of Internal Medicine. 1997;126(1):36–47. PMID 8992922.
- Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association. 1997;277(11):927–34. doi:10.1001/jama.277.11.927. PMID 9062335.
- International Committee Of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: writing and editing for biomedical publication [Free full text]. Haematologica. 2004;89(3):264. PMID 15020262.
- Patrias, K. In: Wendling, D., editor. Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers [Internet]. 2nd ed. Bethesda, MD: National Library of Medicine (US); 2007 [Retrieved 2012 February 22]. "Convert given (first) names and middle names to initials, for a maximum of two initials following each surname"
Many medical institutions maintain their own style guides, with information on how to cite sources:
- University of Queensland (PDF; accessed September 30, 2006)
- University of Leicester Library, Vancouver Style Guide (accessed 30 December 2012)