How to cite an academic journal (2024)

Writing any kind of scholarly work – an essay, dissertation, article, textbook or monograph – various sources of information are used: journal articles, books, and others. Certainly, it is fully legitimate to incorporate your readings into your writing as long as the source is properly specified. All relevant data like the author, title, page number, year of publication, publisher, etc. must be precisely listed. This is called a reference or citation.

For scholarly writings, various reference styles are used. The most common ones are, perhaps, the APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, Turabian, Vancouver and ACM styles. In this paper, we survey these styles in some detail.

How to cite an academic journal (1) Citations are an essential part of an academic paper
User:Tfinc, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Why and how to cite an academic journal and what other sources are to be cited?

It is an essential part of research integrity to refer precisely to the origin of any information taken from other authors; that is, to avoid plagiarism. Moreover, reference to the existing literature is also crucial for relating your work to the research performed by others. It makes your text compelling and helps to orientate the scientific community which is expected to be interested in your findings. References should always be as precise as possible so that they easily lead the readers to the source of the information they need.

References are not only needed in case of literal quotes. It would be best if you referred to the source of any information taken from others’ work. This should include methods of study, various data (e.g. results of measurements), experimental settings, definitions, and so on. The sources can be published works like scholarly articles, monographs, or textbooks, as well as oral communication like seminar or conference talks or even private discussions. You should only use a source that is trusted in origin. On the other hand, it is not necessary to refer if you describe your own research results, observations, experimental results, or analysis, if it has not been published yet elsewhere. Re-using your own, but already published results must be documented with references too, so as to avoid unethical self-plagiarism. In case of facts that can be found at many places and are probably widely known, it is not mandatory though considerate to provide an easily accessible reference for the readers’ convenience.

Reference styles

In every scientific text, each reference should appear at least at two different places: within the text and at the end of the text in the bibliography. (A third occurrence is possible in footnotes or endnotes, see below.) The point of an intertextual reference is that, in an abridged form, immediately guides the reader where the quote or thought is coming from. This encoded information is then resolved by a detailed reference in the bibliography (and perhaps in notes), listing all relevant data of the source.

Thus, in every style, the reference is made in two places at least - in the text, in the bibliography, and possibly in endnotes or footnotes. The difference between the various styles are the ways in which in-text citations are encoded, and in which these codes are resolved as detailed references.


Whatever style you apply, you should always compile a list of references at the end of the document. In this bibliography, you should give full references for all in-text references used throughout. The bibliography usually starts on a new page. Its items may be numbered or not, they can be ordered alphabetically or in the order of their appearance in the text.

Different rules apply to the various types of documents – books, study volumes, journals, volumes and issues, special issues, internet resources – what data to list and in what order.

For a book, for instance, the author’s surname, initials, publication year, the book’s title, its editor, publisher’s location, and name are the most important data to be listed. The particular style determines what to italicise, where to apply parentheses or quotation marks. For example, in the APA style (introduced in a bit more detail below) a book citation takes the following form.

Darwin, C.R. (1859). On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life (1st ed.) London, England: John Murray

Citing a journal article, the author’s surname, initials, publication year, the article’s title, the journal’s title, volume, and issue numbers, page numbers, Digital Object Identifier (abbreviated as DOI) and URL are usually expected to be listed. For example, again the APA style, a citation of a journal article should look like this.

Einstein, A. (1905). Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper. Annalen der Physik (ser. 4), 17, 891–921. Retrieved from

An online journal article is cited in essentially the same way.

Should you cite a website, list the website’s name, the year when it was published, the title of the page adding the term [online]. Finally, add “Available at” and the URL together with the date when you accessed it.

In case you need to cite sources different from the above, for example unpublished research papers, consult the chosen journal’s style guide.

The author-date styles

In all author-date styles – as the name indicates – an in-text citation consists of the author’s name and the year of publication (together with exact page numbers whenever it makes sense; e.g. in the case of a literal citation, when also quotation marks must be used). These data are usually given in parentheses – e.g. (Einstein, 1905) or (Einstein, 1905, p.893). Up-to at most five authors, all names should be listed. If there are more than five authors, then the name of the first author is followed by “et al.”. If there are multiple references to works of the same author in the same year, then they should be distinguished by additional labels like (Einstein, 1905a) and (Einstein, 1905b). There is no essential difference between in-text references to books, journal articles, online documents, or other formats when using an author-date reference style. Exceptions are electronic documents, as you cannot provide a page number. In this case, you should indicate the paragraph number and use the abbreviation para.

In the bibliography of most author-date styles, the references are listed in alphabetical order by the surname of the first author.

Examples of author-date styles

The Harvard reference style is one of the most used styles in scholarly works.

The APA citation (American Psychological Association) is a form of reference that is typically used in the social sciences. These areas are anthropology, archaeology, communication and business studies, education, geography, history, political studies, psychology and sociology.

The MLA (Modern Language Association of America) reference style is mainly used for artistic and literary writings. Some clever tools – so-called MLA citation generators – may help you to create MLA style references, including MLA in-text citations.

The author-date form of the Chicago style is often used in the sciences and social sciences.

The author-date form of the Turabian style is common in physical, natural, and social sciences.

Notes & Bibliography styles

The characteristic feature of all Notes & Bibliography styles is that within the text references are encoded by numbers (with or without parentheses). These codes are then resolved in any of footnotes and endnotes, depending on the publisher’s preference. A bibliography section is provided at the end of the work in these styles too.

The bibliography at the end of the text looks pretty much the same as in the author-date styles; the precise format depends on the chosen style.

In the footnotes or endnotes, the serial number is followed by the author's name, the title and point of the cited work, followed by the place of publication in brackets, the publisher, the date of publication, followed by the page number where the reference occurs. As in the bibliography, the syntaxis depends on the actual style. For example, in the Chicago style, books and journal articles are quoted in the following respective forms.

  1. Charles Robert Darwin, On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life (London: John Murray, 1859), 17.
  2. Albert Einstein, “Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper.” Annalen der Physik (ser. 4), 17 (1905): 21.

Examples of Notes & Bibliography styles

Chicago style has a Notes & Bibliography variant (popular in humanities —including literature, history, and the arts). It uses footnotes or endnotes (as the publisher demands) in addition to the bibliography organised in alphabetical order.

Turabian style (particularly prevalent in the fields of history and economics) is very similar to Chicago. It also uses footnotes and endnotes as well as an alphabetically ordered bibliography.

Numbered styles

As a hybrid solution, in-text references can be encoded by numbers (typically in square brackets) which only link to the numbered references in the bibliography (there are no footnotes or endnotes). For example, in the Vancouver style, the bibliography items for books and journal articles, respectively, have the following structure.

  1. Darwin CR. On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 1st ed. London: John Murray; 1859.
  2. Einstein A. Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper. Annalen der Physik (ser. 4). 1905;17:891–921.

Examples of numbered styles

The Vancouver style is mainly used in medical articles. In this style, the bibliography items are listed in the order in which they occur in the text.

The ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) is the dominant style e.g. in mathematics and computer science. In this style, the bibliography is alphabetically ordered.

AKJournals provides academic papers with all significant citation styles

At AKJournals, we publish domestic and international academic journals in a wide range of fields like arts and humanities, business and economics, biology, social science and law, and so on. Since all these branches of science have their own preferred reference style, you can meet many different styles in our journals. Before preparing your manuscript, please consult the style guide of the journal where you plan to submit your work to. You can find the list of AKJournals’ style guides on our web page.

How to cite an academic journal (2024)


How do you cite academic journals? ›

Scholarly article citations should include the following information:
  1. Authors names.
  2. Year of publication.
  3. Title of article.
  4. Title of journal.
  5. Volume of journal.
  6. Page number(s) of article.
26 Sept 2022

How do you properly cite a journal? ›

Citing a journal article, the author's surname, initials, publication year, the article's title, the journal's title, volume, and issue numbers, page numbers, Digital Object Identifier (abbreviated as DOI) and URL are usually expected to be listed.

How many references should a 1000 word assignment have? ›

Number of words

As a general rule, there should be between 8 – 12 references for every 1,000 words.

How do you solve difficulty in citing sources? ›

5 ways to improve your referencing
  1. List your references as you go.
  2. Write your references manually.
  3. Be consistent with your format.
  4. Learn how to referencing less conventional sources.
  5. Proofread your reference list.
25 Sept 2018

How do you cite an academic paper example? ›

Basic format to reference journal articles
  1. Author or authors. The surname is followed by first initials.
  2. Year of publication of the article.
  3. Article title (in single inverted commas).
  4. Journal title (in italics).
  5. Volume of journal.
  6. Issue number of journal.
  7. Page range of article.
27 Oct 2022

How DOI cite an academic source? ›

To cite an article from an academic journal, you need an in-text citation and a corresponding reference listing the name(s) of the author(s), the publication date, the article title and journal name, the volume and issue numbers, the page range, and the URL or DOI.

How do you cite an academic journal in an essay? ›

An Article in a Scholarly Journal

In this case, cite the author and title of article as you normally would. Then, put the title of the journal in italics. Include the volume number (“vol.”) and issue number (“no.”) when possible, separated by commas. Finally, add the year and page numbers.

What is the easiest way to cite an article? ›

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Journal Title, vol. #, issue #, publication date, page number(s).

How do you cite effectively? ›

5 Tips for Making the Perfect Citation
  1. Include In-text or Parenthetical Citations When Paraphrasing. ...
  2. Periods (Almost) Always Go After the Parenthesis. ...
  3. Be Consistent with Your Citation Style. ...
  4. All In-text and Parenthetical Citations Should Correspond with a Reference List Entry. ...
  5. Cite Properly, Not in Excess.

Can you write a 3000 word essay in 3 days? ›

Writing 3,000 words can take anywhere between six and 24 hours depending on the topic but, with our tips, you can easily get it done within a day. Get your head down and you could meet the deadline, and even produce an essay you are proud of.

Is 8 references enough for a 1500 word essay? ›

Generally, you need to use one to two references for the point you are trying to make. Roughly, for a 1500-word essay, this makes a minimum of 10 references.

How long should a 1500 word assignment take? ›

Writing 1,500 words will take about 37.5 minutes for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 1.3 hours for handwriting. However, if the content needs to include in-depth research, links, citations, or graphics such as for a blog article or high school essay, the length can grow to 5 hours.

Why is citation so difficult? ›

APA style makes it difficult to cite sources within your text because it switches its format based on the length of the title and the size of the work. Unlike your references list, where you capitalize only the first word of a title, capitalize all words that are four letters long or longer.

Why do students struggle with citations? ›

Skills such as organizing research notes and learning to add citations as you write, rather than as part of the editing process, can get lost. This can cause students to struggle with remembering what information came from where and leaving off important citations.

What are the 5 examples of academic writing? ›

Common Types of Academic Writing
  • Essay.
  • Research paper.
  • Research proposal.
  • Thesis and dissertation.
  • Lab report.
  • Literature review,
  • Annotated bibliography.

What are some examples of citations? ›

  • Reference list: Ashbourn, J. ...
  • In-text citation: (Ashbourn, 2014)
  • Reference list: Nasta, S. ...
  • In-text citation: (Nasta and Stein, 2020)
  • Reference list: Prior, H. ...
  • In-text citation: (Prior, 2020, 74%)
  • Reference list: Faulkner, W. ...
  • In-text citation: (Faulkner, 2000, ch.
17 Oct 2022

What are 3 types of information that should be cited in an academic paper? ›

You must cite a reference when you: Discuss, summarize, or paraphrase the ideas of an author. Provide a direct quotation. Use statistical or other data.

Is DOI enough for citation? ›

In an APA journal citation, if a DOI (digital object identifier) is available for an article, always include it. If an article has no DOI, and you accessed it through a database or in print, just omit the DOI.

Do all academic journals have a DOI? ›

Some articles may not have a DOI. For example, articles published outside of the sciences tend not to have DOIs. An article may also not have a DOI if it was published before DOIs existed (though some older articles will have had DOIs added!).

How do you cite a journal article example? ›

One author

Year. Title of article. Journal Title. Volume(issue number), page numbers.

How DOI cite an entire journal in APA? ›

Rather than make a citation for the whole periodical, you can just mention its name and the relevant volume and issue information in the text, for example, “I surveyed an issue of The Washington Post from September 15, 2012.” Then, for each individual article that you use as a source in the paper, create individual ...

What is the easiest citation method? ›

APA style is the simplest citation style and most commonly used in the social sciences discipline.

What is the most cited article ever? ›

Most-cited papers

The most-cited paper in history is a paper by Oliver Lowry describing an assay to measure the concentration of proteins.

Can you cite an article without reading it? ›

The short answer to your question is no, you cannot cite works without having read them.

What 3 things must you cite? ›

ALWAYS CITE, in the following cases:
  • When you quote two or more words verbatim, or even one word if it is used in a way that is unique to the source. ...
  • When you introduce facts that you have found in a source. ...
  • When you paraphrase or summarize ideas, interpretations, or conclusions that you find in a source.

What are the 4 types of citation techniques? ›

There are four widely-used referencing styles or conventions. They are called the MLA (Modern Languages Association) system, the APA (American Psychological Association) system, the Harvard system, and the MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) system.

What are the 4 main things about a source you should cite? ›

Citations consist of standard elements, and contain all the information necessary to identify and track down publications, including:
  • author name(s)
  • titles of books, articles, and journals.
  • date of publication.
  • page numbers.
  • volume and issue numbers (for articles)
26 Jan 2022

Can I write 4000 words in 10 hours? ›

Writing 4,000 words will take about 1.7 hours for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 3.3 hours for handwriting.

Can I write a 1200 word essay in 3 hours? ›

What About 1200 Words? Writing 1200 words should take you approximately 3 and a half to 4 and a half hours. This length of an article can include key details, but you won't be able to expand too much unless the subject is straightforward. An essay of this size usually requires a fair amount of research.

How do you pull an all nighter to write an essay? ›

The most important tip for any writer before embarking on an all-nighter is to go in with a plan. You're less likely to waste time on social media or stare at a blank screen when you have a clear schedule to follow. Structure your paper and set small goals that you can realistically achieve throughout the night.

How many citations should a 5000 word essay have? ›

3000 word essay: 20 sources (or more) listed in the reference list. 5000 word essay: 33 sources (or more) listed in the reference list.

How many references do I need for a 2000 word research paper? ›

For example: In a 2000 word essay, you will have 1500 words to use. Each main point you make should typically use 1-3 paragraphs, which should average around 200-400 words in total. This will give you room for around 5 key points, each supported by 2 or 3 references.

How long does it take to write 2000 words with references? ›

Writing 2,000 words will take about 50 minutes for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 1.7 hours for handwriting. However, if the content needs to include in-depth research, links, citations, or graphics such as for a blog article or high school essay, the length can grow to 6.7 hours.

Can I write a 2000 word essay in a day? ›

In sum, there is really no reason why anyone can't write 2000 words a day. That said, it's important to take care of your health during the process. Get up regularly, stretch, and don't forget to those other rhythms: eating and sleeping. No point writing a book you'll never read.

Can I write a 1000 word essay in a day? ›

This is certainly a stretch but helps illustrate how writing 1000 words in a day is not only possible, it's easier than you might think. If your goal is to write 1000 words each day, a good general rule of thumb to follow is to you schedule your writing sessions during your most productive hours.

How many references should I have for a 3000 word essay? ›

3000 word essay: 20 sources (or more) listed in the reference list. 5000 word essay: 33 sources (or more) listed in the reference list.

What are 5 things that don't need to be cited? ›

Listed below are a few items you generally don't need to cite no matter which citation style you use.
  • Your own personal/anecdotal information or experiences.
  • Your own arguments or opinions.
  • Your own videos, photographs, and other artwork you've created.
  • "Common knowledge"- This one is a little tricky to distinguish.
23 May 2022

What happens if you cite incorrectly? ›

Incorrect citations - Incorrectly attributing information through an incorrect citation means your citation doesn't accomplish what it needs to, making it plagiarism.

How many citations is enough? ›

How many citations per year is good? With 10 or more citations, your work is now in the top 24% of the most cited work worldwide; this increased to the top 1.8% as you reach 100 or more citations. Main take home message: the average citation per manuscript is clearly below 10!

Is 10 citations a lot? ›

For all researchers, 5-10 citations of their papers will be great! Publishing in good journals help the citations of our articles.

How many citations is impressive? ›

Three citations would put it in the top 10% most cited articles. Obviously, for articles published in earlier years the number of citations to be in the top 20% or 10% may be higher.

Do teachers look at citations? ›

If there is something suspicious in your work, a teacher will go through almost all of your citations to ensure they are legit and accurate. A teacher might even decide to read a whole book to ensure that the information you have provided on your work aligns with what you have cited in your work.

How do you improve citations? ›

Studies suggest 5 ways to increase citation counts
  1. Watch your title length and punctuation. ...
  2. Take advantage of preprint servers and release your results early. ...
  3. Avoid mentioning a country in your title, abstract or keywords. ...
  4. Link your paper to the supporting data in a freely accessible repository. ...
  5. Cut the hyphens. ...
  6. Read next:
7 Aug 2019

How do you avoid incorrect citations? ›

The writers should put the quotation marks correctly, and they should also check the part within the quote to avoid any mistake, including the period or the spellings of the words. Many writers have the misconception that they don't need to cite the source for paraphrasing.

How do you cite an academic journal in text MLA? ›

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp.

Are academic journals italicized or quoted? ›

The titles of major works like books, journals, etc. should be italicized (this also includes legal cases and some other special names) and subsections of larger works like book chapters, articles, etc. should be put in quotations.

Are academic journals italicized MLA? ›

The title of an article is not italicized in MLA style, but placed in quotation marks. This applies to articles from journals, newspapers, websites, or any other publication.

How do you in text cite an online journal? ›

Citing a Scholarly Journal Article
  1. Last name first followed by initials.
  2. Italicize journal name and volume number.
  3. Upper case for first letter of article title and subtitle, all other words, except proper nouns, should be lower case.
  4. First and last page number of article.
16 Mar 2021

How do you cite an entire journal in MLA? ›

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Journal Title, vol. #, issue #, publication date, page number(s). Database Title, DOI (if available) or URL (without https://) or Permalink.

Do you italicize journals in APA? ›

Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals. Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections.

How do you cite an article in an essay MLA? ›

MLA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the page number from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken, for example: (Smith 163). If the source does not use page numbers, do not include a number in the parenthetical citation: (Smith).

Do you put journal articles in quotations? ›

MLA 9 Style for Article Titles. Since journal, magazine, and newspaper articles are part of a larger standalone work, you use regular font (not italics) for article titles and double quotation marks in MLA 9 style.

How do you cite an article step by step? ›

Basic Structure for Journal Article References

Provide the title of the article, but only capitalize the first letter of the title. Next, list the journal or periodical and volume number in italics, followed by the issue number in parentheses. Finally, provide the page numbers where the article can be found.

How do I cite an online journal article in MLA? ›

Online (only) Journal

"Title of Article." Title of Journal, volume number, issue number, date of publication. URL [or DOI or permalink, if available]. Date of access.

How do you cite a quote from a scholarly journal? ›

The basic format is as follows: Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical Day Month Year: pages. Medium of publication.

How do you cite an online article in text MLA? ›

Revised on June 16, 2022. An MLA website citation includes the author's name, the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the website (in italics), the publication date, and the URL (without “https://”). If the author is unknown, start with the title of the page instead.

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