Wilkes University

Vancouver Referencing Guide: Journal Title Abbreviations

A guide to the Vancouver referencing style commonly used in the biomedical sciences

Approved Title Abbreviations

The titles of journals in Vancouver format should be abbreviated according to the style used in the National Library of Medicine’s Journals in NCBI Databases. To find correct abbreviations:


  Go to the NLM’s Journals in NCBI Databases

  •  Type the full journal title in quotation marks into the Search box (e.g., “New Zealand Medical Journal”)
  •  From the results, select the title you want; the correct abbreviation to use is the NLM Title Abbreviation (e.g.,
    N Z Med J.)


Note that, in the citation, the abbreviation ends with a period and that when [journal on the Internet] comes after the title, the period goes after the close of the brackets. For example:

   Gill JM, Cooper AR. Physical activity and prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
   Sports Med [journal on the Internet]. 2008 [cited 2012 Sep 5];38(10):807-24.


Do not underline or italicize the journal title abbreviation.

you cannot find a particular journal title in the NLM database, check one of the following.

If you still cannot find an abbreviation, build one using the National Library of Medicine's Abbreviations for Commonly Used English Words in Journal TitlesFor example, if you had an article from the fictitious Annals of Egyptian Nutrition, you would find the abbreviation for Annals (Ann), then the abbreviation for Egyptian (Egypt) and, finally, the abbreviation for Nutrition (Nutr) to come up with Ann Egypt Nutr.

Remember that regardless of where you find (or build) an abbreviation, it ends (only) with a period.

Journal names consisting of one word (e.g., Time, Science, Pharmacotherapy) are never abbreviated.