Ordering author names (author–date system)

In a reference list, list all references alphabetically according to first author family names.

If there is more than one paper by the same author, list them by year, with the earliest year first:

Jones AB (1990).

Jones AB (1991).

If there is more than 1 paper by a single author in the same year, list in the sequence the citations appear in the text, and add a, b and so on after the year.

If there is more than 1 paper by multiple authors with the same first author, first list the papers that have only 2 authors, in alphabetical order and then by year. Follow these with the papers that have 3 or more authors (ie all references that appear in the text as ‘et al’), arranged alphabetically by first author, and then by year and sequence in the main text. Note that all authors from an et al in-text citation are listed in the reference list unless a paper has more than 20 authors; in this case, list the first 6 authors followed by et al. If a series of references published in the same year are cited for the first time in the text together, list them by name of first author, then by name of second author, and so on:

Jones AB & Brown LM (2004).

Jones AB & Smith CD (1989).

Jones AB, Brown LM & Smith CD (1989).

Jones AB, Wilson RS, Brown LM & Smith CD (1990a). [occurs before next reference in the text]

Jones AB, Brown LM & Smith CD (1990b).

Jones AB, Wilson RS & Smith CD (1990c).

Jones AB, Wilson RS & Brown LM (2000).

Jones AB, Brown LM & Smith CD (2010a). [This and the next 2 references are cited together in the text for the first time.]

Jones AB, Smith CD & Brown LM (2010b).

Jones AB, Wilson RS & Smith CD (2010c).

Jones M (1995).

Jones M (2010).

List corporate authors alphabetically by acronym first, followed directly by the name in full in brackets:

  • AGAL (Australian Government Analytical Laboratories) (1990). Managing chemical analysis, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

Apply the following additional principles:

  • Order letter by letter, ignoring spaces, hyphens and apostrophes


    McNamara (do not order as if it were Mac)






    St John

    Note: The Australian Government Style manual for authors, editors and printers (6th edition) lists names according to what they represent, which is a common system used in Australia, and would list the above names in the order







St John


  • Treat particles such as de, la, van, van de and von as part of the family name and list according to the particle; capitalisation should follow that used by the person

Carter A

de la Costa

Green B

La Fontaine J

van Beethoven

van de Kamp J

  • Ignore diacritics, accents and special characters in names, and treat them as if the mark were absent

à [treated as a]     Ç [treated as C]     ü [treated as u]

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