The two most commonly used systems for citing references
are the Vancouver system, which numbers the references, and the Harvard system,
which refers to them by the name/s of author/s and the year of publication. In
the first, a numbered list of references is given at the end of the paper; in
the second, the list is arranged alphabetically by the name/s. This post
explains a number of minor variations in citing numbered references.
Incidentally, the system of numbering references is known as the Vancouver
system because it was a meeting held in Vancouver in 1978 that led to ICMJE,
the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, and, eventually, to
some agreement among journal publishers on a common format for references.
The Vancouver system serially numbers each source
cited in a paper in the order in which the sources are cited. If a source cited
earlier is cited again, the same number is used. At the end of the paper, under
the heading "References," full details of each source are given next to its
Superscripts or in-lineCiting sources by numbers seems simple enough
but different journals treat the numbers differently: some print them as
superscripts whereas some print them "in-line" (that is, neither as superscripts
nor as subscripts).
Enclosed or openWhether printed as superscripts or in-line,
some journals enclose the numbers within brackets—either square brackets, as in
, or round brackets (also known as parentheses, as illustrated here).
Before of after the full stop (period)When a numbered citation appears at the end
of a sentence, the number/s, in whichever form (superscripts on in-line,
enclosed or open), may be placed after the full stop or before the full stop.
As the author of a research paper, you may be annoyed
at such trivial differences. However, think of this whole process of getting
published as a game: if paying attention to such details helps you in getting
published faster, the effort is certainly worthwhile.
prosper" is a series of posts about tips for researchers whose first
language is not English but who submit papers to journals published in English.
The series touches upon not only writing (spelling, grammar, punctuation,
usage, and style) but everything else relevant to publishing research papers
that journal editors wish their authors knew.]