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BIOL 1023 - Principles of Biology: Citing Articles

Citation Format

For your poster, citations should be written in the format of the journal Biology Letters, which uses the Vancouver style. Each reference should contain as many of the following elements as possible:

1) Author surnames with initials (up to 10 before et al. is used)

2) Year of publication

3) Title of paper or book

4) Journal name using standard abbreviation

5) Volume number

6) Book publisher and location

7) First and last page numbers, or article number

8) Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Additional pointers for citation formatting are available under References in the Royal Society's Author Guidelines.

When to Cite

From page 169 of the 6th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association:

* Cite anyone "whose ideas, theories or research have directly influenced your work"

* Cite "all facts or figues which are not common knowledge"

* Citation of an article implies that you have personally read the cited work


 Which citation manager is best for you? The links and table below can help you decide, but here are a few other questions to consider:

    • What do your colleagues use? You will have someone to turn to for help.
    • Is ease of use all important? Zotero is a bit easier to use.
    • Is cost critical? Zotero is free and open access with additional storage for a fee. Mendeley has a free version.
    • Do you save PDFs for every reference? Zotero can automatically download PDFs when available.
    • Is managing websites important? Zotero excels at this.
    • Is full functionality important? EndNote is more powerful and customizable.
    • Do you plan to spend many years in academia? EndNote is best for large reference collections.
    • Are journal abbreviations used in your preferred citation style(s)? EndNote handles this best.


EndNote Basic




Desktop software for PC and Mac



Web-based and standalone


Available in AU Install

Free with 2 GB free online file storage. More file storage comes with purchase of software.

Free and fee versions

Free with 300 MB free online file storage. More file storage starts at $20/year.

 How to    get it

AU Install

 Ease of    use

Moderate learning curve

Easier than EndNote

Fairly easy to learn

Fairly easy to learn

 Word  processors

Word and Open Office


Word and Open Office

Word and Open Office

 Attach  PDFs?


Not on the free version



 Share  references?






Comparisons by other universities

     EndNote vs. RefWorks vs. Zotero Vs. Mendeley (UC Berkeley)
     EndNote vs. Zotero vs. Mendeley (MIT)


Example Formatting

Journal Article with a Single Author

  1. Green AJ. 2016 The importance of waterbirds as an overlooked pathway of invasion for alien species. Divers. Distrib. 22, 239–247. (doi:10.1111/ddi.12392)

Journal Article with Two Authors

  1. Howe HF, Smallwood J. 1982 Ecology of seed dispersal. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 13, 201–228. (doi:10.1146/

Journal Article with more than two authors

  1. Kolb GS, Jerling L, Hamback PA. 2010 The impact of cormorants on plant–arthropod food webs on their nesting islands. Ecosystems 13, 353–366. (doi:10.1007/s10021-010-9323-8)
  2. Soons MB, Brochet A-L, Kleyheeg E, Green AJ 2016. Seed dispersal by dabbling ducks: an overlooked dispersal pathway for a broad spectrum of plant species. J. Ecol. 104, 443–455. (doi:10.1111/1365-2745.12531)


  1. Darwin C. 1859 On the origin of species by means of natural selection. London, UK: John Murray.
  2. Wright GA. 2003 Turnover in a wintering cormorant population: implications for management. In Interaction between fish and birds: implications for management (ed. IG Cowx), pp. 345–353. Oxford, UK: Fishing News Books, Blackwell Science.

Background Information (Government or Educational Websites, Non-scholarly Books)

  1. CDC. 2018 Influenza (flu) including seasonal, avian, swine, pandemic, and other. Cent. Dis. Control Prev. See (accessed on 9 October 2018).
  2. US EPA O. 2015 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions. US EPA. See (accessed on 9 October 2018).
  3. In press. Climate | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. See (accessed on 9 October 2018).

Can I cite at the end of the paragraph if everything in a paragraph is from one article?

In short, no!!

Cite each sentence in which you paraphrase, describe, or directly quote from another's ideas, works, or research.

Remember, in a professional paper or poster, you should be synthesizing information not just summarizing. Many times when this question comes up, students are really just using individual paragraphs to summarize individual articles. Instead of summarizing, you should probably look  for ways in which your various articles agree/disagree and what unique points or insights appear in each so that you can combine (synthesize) the information to write a much more robust  paragraph. If you only have one article which addresses a particular portion of your paper, you may need to find additional information(articles).