Compiling the reference list: examples and tips

If you use reference management software to add citations it will make sure your citations look right, both in the text and in the reference list, and that the numbering and sorting of the references are updated as you change, remove or add citations. You need to learn how to import citations (Zotero has a browser plugin that makes this easy), how to insert citations into your text (Zotero has plugins for Word, OpenOffice, LibreOffice and Google Docs to do this), and how to choose which style you want to use for your citations (for example, the style determines whether the references should be displayed as author name and year or as numbers in the text). Zotero have several different pre-installed styles, but many others can be installed via Zotero's settings.

Much of the following text describes things that reference handlers arrange automatically, based on which style you choose for your citations, but which you have to arrange yourself if you do not use reference management software. Keep in mind, though, that even if you use reference management software, errors can occur, so check your reference list to make sure that everything is formatted correctly.

In the reference list, list all the published publicly available works you cite, neither more nor fewer. Oral citations are not included. For the same author, chronological order is used on the articles. If you want to cite your sources with numbers instead of names + years, number them in the same order they appear in the text. If you have written the author names in parentheses, the reference list should be in alphabetical order by author. There are also different systems for how the information is arranged. You can choose another format for individual works than the one below, if it is more common in journals in your area, as long as all the information below is included. For articles, include all authors, publication year, and the title of the work, the journal where it was published, volume, and pages. For books, include all authors, publication year, title, edition, publisher, and printing place. For individual chapters in anthologies, also include editors, the title of the anthology, and the pages of the cited chapter.

For journals that do not have a print edition, indicate the volume and e-page or DOI number (DOI = digital object identifier), but the name of the journal must still be included. The example in the next section provides more details on how to cite an article you have read on the web.

For web sources that are not journal articles, include the name of the person or organisation responsible for the website, a title of the work, the last modified page (if any), and the date when you downloaded the information.

Citations – examples

Journal articles

Principle: Surname initial(s) for all authors. Article title. Journal where it was published. Volume: pages (year of publication).

  • Gillespie U, Alassaad A, Henrohn D, Garmo H, Hammarlund-Udenaes M, Toss H, Kettis-Lindblad A, Melhus H, and Mörlin C. A comprehensive pharmacist intervention to reduce morbidity in patients 80 years or older: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med 169:894-900 (2009).
  • Abbott NJ, Patabendige AA, Dolman DE, Yusof SR, and Begley DJ. Structure and function of the blood-brain barrier. Neurobiol Disease 37:13-25 (2010).
  • Rowland M, Peck C, and Tucker G. Physiologically-based pharmacokinetics in drug development and regulatory science. Ann Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 51:45-73 (2011).

Journal without volume and page numbers (e-journal)

  • Wilmers CC, Getz WM. 2005. Gray wolves as climate change buffers in Yellowstone. PLOS Biology, DOI 10.1371/journal.pbio.0030092.


Principle: Surname initial(s). Book’s title. Edition. Publisher: Place of publication, Year published.

  • Rowland M., Tozer T. N. Clinical Pharmacokinetics, Concepts and Applications. 3rd ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (1995)
  • Begon M, Harper JL, Townsend CR. Ecology. Individuals, populations and communities. 3rd ed. Blackwell Science, Oxford. (1996)

Chapters from books

Principle: Surname and initial of chapter author. Chapter title. I: Editor’s Surname, Editor’s Initial, editor(s). Book’s title. Place of publication: Publisher; p. page number (Year of publication).

  • Reidenberg M. M. Therapeutics as a Science. van Boxtel C. J., Santoso B., Edwards I. R. (Eds). Drug Benefits and Risks, International Textbook of Clinical Pharmacology. John Wiley & Sons Ltd: Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK. 1st ed. p 15–25 (2001).

Doctoral theses, reports etc.

  • Johansson A. 2003. Ph.D. Thesis. Design and Synthesis of Hepatitis C Virus NS3 Protease Inhibitors. Uppsala University.
  • Sandström B. Title of report. Technical report; Number; Publisher: Place of publication, date, pages
  • Medical Products Agency Sweden. Läkemedelsbehandling för glukoskontroll vid typ 2-diabetes – behandlingsrekommendation. Information from the Medical Products Agency. 2017;28(4):29–48.
  • The National Swedish Board of Health and Welfare. Nationella riktlinjer för hjärtsjukvård – Stöd för styrning och ledning. Article number: 2018-6-28. 2018. Available from:


  • R Core Teams. 2013. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL:

Web addresses

  • Medical Products Agency Sweden. Interchangeable drugs.
  • [2018/07/02], downloaded 2019/06/10.
  • Mendeley Ltd. 2019. Harvard Format Citation Guide., downloaded 2019/08/16.

Be consistent and use the exact same format for your citations. Here are some details to consider:

  • Check carefully where to use full stops, commas and colons.
  • Either use the abbreviated or use the complete journal names, do not use a mix. Journal names are shortened according to a standard (see PubMed or Scifinder). If you do not know the standard abbreviation of a journal, write the complete name.
  • For journals, do not write the word “volume” and do not indicate the issue number. Write “11: 115–121” (not ”volume 11 (2): 115–121”).
  • According some reference formats, journal names and book titles are in italics and volumes are indicated in bold. If you choose such a format, make sure to be consistent.
  • The reference list should use the same language as the rest of the paper. However, the title of the work must be stated in the original language. For example, in English "unpublished report from Uppsala University" and in Swedish you write "opublicerad rapport från Uppsala universitet".

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