Wilkes University

Vancouver Referencing Guide: Authors' Names

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

Writing Authors' Names

General Rules for Author/Editor

  • List names in the citation in the order they appear in the text (on article, on webpage, or on title page—not cover—of the book)
  • Enter surname (family or last name) first for each author/editor
  • Capitalize surnames and enter spaces within surnames as they appear in the document cited on the assumption that the author approved the form used. For example: Van Der Horn or van der Horn; De Wolf or de Wolf or DeWolf
  • Convert given (first) names and middle names to initials for a maximum of two initials following each surname
  • Place family designations of rank after initials, without punctuation, and convert Roman numerals to Arabic ordinals; e.g. DeVita VT Jr  OR Jones JG 3rd
  • List all authors, but if the number exceeds three, give the first three followed by "et al." For example: Iverson C, Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB, et al. OR Bays DA, Quinn PP, Baum A, et al., eds.
  • Separate author/editor names from each other by a comma and a space
  • If there are no authors, only editors, follow the last named editor with a comma and the abbreviation "ed. or “eds.” For example: Achauer BM, Eriksson E, Guyuron B, eds.
  • End author/editor information with a period

 Organizations as author/editor

An organization such as a university, society, association, corporation, or government body may serve as an author or editor.

  • Omit "The" preceding an organizational name
    • The American Cancer Society   becomes   American Cancer Society
  • If a division or another part of an organization is included in the publication, give the parts of the name in descending hierarchical order, separated by commas
    • American Medical Association, Committee on Ethics.
    • International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry Division.
    • American College of Surgeons, Committee on Trauma, Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Outcomes, Working Group.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics.
  • When citing organizations that are national bodies such as government agencies, if a nationality is not part of the name, place the country in parentheses after the name
    •  National Academy of Sciences (US).
    • Royal Marsden Hospital Bone-Marrow Transplantation Team (England).
  • Separate two or more different organizations by a semicolon
    • Canadian Association of Orthodontists; Canadian Dental Association.
    • American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine; American College of Emergency Physicians, Pediatric Committee.
  • If both individuals and an organization or organizations appear on the title page of a book as authors, use the names of the individuals as the author. Give the organization at the end of the reference as a note, if desired.
    • Stahl PH, Wermuth CG, editors. Handbook of pharmaceutical salts: properties, selection, and use. New York: Wiley-VCH; c2002.  Prepared for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

Authors of Websites
While there are books and journal articles on the Internet which clearly state the names of the authors, most sites – particularly homepages – do not.

  • Do not assume that an individual named as Webmaster or contact person is the author; he/she most probably is not, especially for homepages produced by organizations.
  • Some sites will give a name in association with a copyright statement, such as “copyright 1997 by John A. Smith.” It is not safe to assume that this individual is the author either.
  • If the only personal name given in a site is associated with a copyright statement, use that individual’s name as the publisher.
  • Most sites will display an organization’s name rather than a person’s name. In such cases when the organization appears to be serving as both author and publisher, place the organization in the publisher position. (See Publishers, Places and Dates tab.)
  • If a personal author is present, use the last name followed by up to two initials, such as “Smith JA.”
  • If no person or organization with responsibility for a website can be determined, omit this element; do not use “anonymous.”