In line with a clear and pertinent introduction, the references should not be exhaustive. Most of the time you need only include the most significant or definitive reference. This might be the most recent or the first reference to the work. Where a number of studies have shown the same thing, it is not necessary to include every single one. The exception is if you are writing a review article, in which case your referencing is expected to be comprehensive.

However it is important to acknowledge the source of all results from other papers that you refer to. If you cite results from another source without a reference then it is assumed by the reader that they are your results.

Journals may have very different requirements for presentation of references. Therefore you should refer carefully to the specific requirements of the journal to which you are submitting, and meet them (see Appendix 1, Uniform Requirements). You should also carefully cross-check your references in the text with those in the References section. It is to your advantage to submit a paper as perfect as possible to the Editor (see Section 4 on publishing).

If you use the name of an author in the text, you must include the date of the study or a reference number depending on the system used. Do not include the initials of the author.

avoid   “Sweet ME (1993) was the first to describe this effect’


“Sweet (1993) was the first to describe this effect.”
“Sweet 1 was the first to describe this effect.”

If there were two authors on the paper, mention both of them. If there were more than two, use et al., which is usually italicised, but has no comma.


“Sweet et al. (1993) was the first to describe this effect.”

Only quote the authors name in the text if it is a well recognized or important study. While you may feel it is important to acknowledge the work of your colleagues by naming them in the text, this is often inappropriate in a Western Scientific paper.