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How to copy edit STM journals: Back Matter Part I

Updated on July 22, 2013

After sharing information on how to copy edit front matter of STM journals in my previous hubs, today I will share with you styling of references. Interestingly, there are two types of reference styles, one is Vancouver, the author-number style, and the other one is Harvard, the author-date style.

A Harvard-type reference list generally includes author names for the publication followed by date of publication (year), article title, journal title, volume number, issue numbers that go with the volume numbers (optional), and then page range. Here is an example of Harvard style:

Downing, I. (1993). The theory of organizational behavior. Planned Behavior and Human Decision Making Process, 50, 129--211.

The Vancouver-type reference style includes reference number, then names of authors followed by article title, journal title, year of publication, volume number, and then page range. Here is a most common example of Vancouver style:

1. Deva, C., Scholl, S., Molin, P., Ratania, V. and Mavigli, M. C., Common statement. Global burden of arthritis: signs, symptoms, and preventative care. Arch. Arthritic Med. 2000. 252: 689–691.

Now as we are aware, there are different types of styles followed by different publishers, I will divide each section of a single reference, for example, first I will explain different types of author styles, then article and journal styles, followed by date of publication, volume number and page range:


Ram, P. K., Singh, Y., Subramanyam, S. and Kirorimal, E.,

Nathan, G., Matthews, C., & Parker, G.

Scholl, L. J., Panda, M. G., Meng, Z., Pagan, J. et al.,

So you can see above that there are different types of author names, i.e., the first one has no serial comma and only “and” before the last author name. Second one has a serial comma and an “ampersand (&)” and the third one has four authors followed by “et al.” which means that if you have more than five authors in this style, you need to delete the last one and insert an “et al.” over there. “Et al.” means “and others”, so in simple words the third type of author style requires, truncation of more than four authors. Due to time constraints, I am stopping this article here but promise to continue this tomorrow.


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