How to cite authors in Vancouver Style?

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The practices of Vancouver Style assume that the names of a source’s authors should only be given in the list of references; the in-text citations are given as the respective source’s number in the bibliography (see more in the article on in-text citations in Vancouver Style).

How to cite authors in a list of references

General case

In accordance with the requirements of Vancouver Style, the names of all authors are to be given in a bibliographic reference; the order of the authors should be the same as in the source. An author’s name consists of their last name and initials without any punctuation marks:

Last Name Initials


1. No full stops are put after the initials; the initials are written without any spaces between them:

Alison Kenner → Kenner A

Walker P. A. → Walker PA

2. If there is a hyphen between some parts of the name, it is to be omitted in the initials:

Louis-Philippe Boulet → Boulet LP

3. At most two elements are given in the initials, even if the name contains more than two parts:

Peter J. M. Openshaw → Openshaw PJ

N.B. For more nuances on how to give the initials of authors in Vancouver Style, consult the official style manual – Citing Medicine. The web service Grafiati takes into account the necessary aspects automatically and generates bibliographic references in compliance with the rules specified above.

For a source with multiple authors, each author in the complete list is separated by a comma; the conjunction ‘and’ is not used:

Last Name Initials of the 1st authorLast Name Initials of the 2nd authorLast Name Initials of the 3rd author

The complete list of authors in a reference should end with a full stop.

Examples in a list of references:

Stephenson JB. Autonomic seizures in 18q- syndrome. Brain Dev [Internet]. 2005 Mar [cited 2021 May 30];27(2):125-6. Available from: doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2003.09.016

Welzel J, Bruhns M, Wolff HH. Optical coherence tomography in contact dermatitis and psoriasis. Arch Dermatol Res [Internet]. 2003 Jun 1 [cited 2021 May 30];295(2):50-5. Available from: doi: 10.1007/s00403-003-0390-y

Sources with a great number of authors

Whenever it is either impossible or impractical to indicate the names of all authors, Vancouver Style allows giving optionally the names of the first six or three authors followed by ‘et al.’

Example in a list of references:

Hassan A, Arora RC, Adams C, Bouchard D, Cook R, Gunning D, et al. Cardiac surgery in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic: a guidance statement from the Canadian Society of Cardiac Surgeons. Can J Cardiol [Internet]. 2020 Jun [cited 2021 Mar 26];36(6):952-5. Available from: doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2020.04.001

Source with a group author (organisation, institution, etc.)

The name of an organisation is given in the same position as the names of individual authors – at the beginning of the reference:

House of Commons, Health and Social Care Committee (GB). The Government’s White Paper proposals for the reform of Health and Social Care [Internet]. [London]: [House of Commons]; 2021May [cited 2021 May 30]. 52 p. Available from:

N.B. The initial article ‘The’ is omitted for the names of organisations.

N.B. If a source’s list of authors includes both an organisation and an individual, the names of such authors should be separated by a semicolon and not by a comma; the names of several organisations are to be separated by a semicolon as well. The online service Grafiati takes into account these specifics automatically when generating references in Vancouver.

Source with an unknown author

For a source whose author is unknown, the title of the work is given at the beginning of the reference.

Editors, translators, and other contributors

When the information on a source’s author is missing, editors, translators, and other contributors (compilers, arrangers, etc.) can be given in place of the author; if the information on the author is available, the names of the other contributors are given in the middle of the reference. In both cases, the names of the contributors are to be given in the same format as the name of the author (last name and initials) followed by the role of the contributor separated by a comma:

Ryan JP, Tuma RF, editors. Physiology: preTest self-assessment and review. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 199. 291 p.

Soames R, Palastanga N. Anatomy and human movement: structure and function. 7th ed. Richardson P, illustrator. Edinburgh (Scotland): Elsevier; 2019. 667 p.

Other citation styles: