Author–date in-text citations

Material is considered to be published if it is available to the public. This includes information on the internet.

This section covers how to refer to:

Published references

Single author

Cite authors by name and date, in parentheses:

... as shown in a previous study (Smith 1996)

Smith (1996) reports that ...

Multiple authors

To cite a reference with 2 authors, use both their names. If the names are enclosed in parentheses, separate the names with an ampersand:

... have been described (Smith & Jones 2010)

Otherwise, separate them with and (making sure that you keep your chosen style consistent throughout the publication):

Smith and Jones (2010) reported that ...

To cite a reference with more than 2 authors, give only the name of the first author, followed by ‘et al’ (with no stop after ‘et al’ and no italics):

(Smith et al 1997)

Smith et al (1997) reported that ...

Author names

Each name needs to be unique so that it can be located in the reference list. If necessary, use initials of first names to distinguish 2 authors with the same family name and publications in the same year:

... has been reported (Smith B 2010, Smith T 2010)

Retain non-English letters and accented characters in names:

Forsskål     Létourneau     Mäkeläinen     Müller

Reproduce the capitalisation and punctuation of the name as it appears in the reference:

van den Berg     Vandenberg     Van den Berg     Smith-Jones

Group authors

To cite corporate or group authors, use acronyms or abbreviations:

(WHO 1996)

To cite a reference with 2 corporate authors, use the same format as for individuals:

(Department of Health & NHMRC 2014)

Multiple references by a single author

Where 2 or more references by the same author are cited in the same place in the text, arrange them in chronological order, with the years separated by a comma and a space. There is no need to repeat the author’s name each time:

(Smith 2010, 2011)

To cite several references by the same author in the same year, list them as a, b, c and so on, with no spaces or commas; in the reference list, a will be the first reference cited in the text:

(Smith 2010abc)

Multiple references by multiple authors

Where 2 or more references by different authors are cited at the same place in the text, arrange them chronologically (not alphabetically). Separate citations with a comma:

(Smith 1996, Jones 1998)

If the same author is cited in multiple years, list these references together. Use semicolons to separate multiple references by one author from references by other authors:

(Smith 1996, 2004; Jones 1998; Miller 2010, 2014)

If there is more than 1 reference in the same year by a group of authors (ie 3 or more) with the same first author, list them as a, b, c and so on (using ‘et al’ after the first author's name). In the reference list, a will be the first reference cited in the text, b the second, and so on. If a series of references published in the same year are cited for the first time in the text together, list them in the reference list by name of first author, then by name of second author, and so on – see Ordering author names (author–date system).

Unknown authors

Do not use anonymous (or anon) when the author is unknown. Use the first word or first few words of the title for the in-text citation, followed by an ellipsis and the year.

Several excellent field guides (Butler 2013, Fieldguide … 1999, Gordon & Jones 2010) describe the native animals in the region.

In the reference list, the title is placed alphabetically among author names.

Farrer DJ & Mitchell B (2014). …

Fieldguide to native animals in the southeast (1999). CDE Publishing, Canberra.

Fletcher J (2010). …

In some cases, the details can be cited in the text:

In an interview for the Age (24 January 2013:12), the scientist specified ...

Give all the available details in the reference list to ensure that the reader can find the publication.

Citing secondary sources

In-text citations of the work of one author as cited in another author’s work should be avoided. Try to go back to the original source.

If you have to include a secondary source, provide both authors’ names in the citation:

Author A (1889; cited in Author B 2005) reported that ...

In the reference list, include the details of both works, so that the reader can follow up the primary reference without having to access the work that cites it.

Publications with no date

If the publication date is not known, use the following form:

(WHO, no date)

(Jones et al, no date)

In the reference list, use nd:

WHO (World Health Organization) (nd)

Jones AL, Murphy B & Fleming AS (nd)

Page numbers

To refer to specific page numbers, use the following form (see also Refer readers to page numbers):

(Smith 1996:175–176)

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Unpublished references

Publications in press

Publications in press are shown in the following way:

(WHO, in press)

(Jones et al, in press).

Do not include a year because publications that are in press often take longer than anticipated to finally appear in print. List the document in the reference list with the known details.

Information from work that has not been accepted for publication

A manuscript submitted to a publisher, including a journal, should not be listed in the reference list unless it has been accepted for publication. Cite information from such material as personal communications:

(JL Brodie, CSIRO Division of Water Purity, pers comm, 2000)

… MB Percy (Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, pers comm, March 1997)

Do not include personal communications in the list of references; cite them only in the text. Be sure to include the position and/or organisation of the person providing the information and the date (month, if available, and year) that the information was provided.

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