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Research & Publication Support: Citation Help

What are DOI & PMID numbers?

Some citations will include DOIs and PMIDs. What are they and why do they matter?

DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier. It is a unique string of numbers to identify resources that live online. It is always preceded by  "doi:". A resource's DOI will remain stable even if its web address (URL) changes.

PMID stands for PubMed Identifier. All items indexed in the PubMed database are given a unique PMID that will never change.

DOI and PMID are included in some citation styles as a way to uniquely identify that item, in addition to things like title, author and year.


Getting Started

Once you’ve written a paper, it’s important to use the correct citation style for your in-text references and bibliography (reference list).

If you plan to publish your work in a journal, check the journal's author guidelines to find out what citation style is required.

The AHS Style Guide (internal) provides tips and guidance for reports and documents. However, articles intended for publication should adhere to the style guide for the intended publication.

For journals, citations will usually include: For books, citations will usually include:
  • Author(s)
  • Article title
  • Journal title
  • Publication year
  • Volume
  • Issue (depending on style)
  • Pages
  • DOI
  • Author(s) or editor(s)
  • Book title
  • Edition
  • Publication year
  • Publisher
  • Place of publication
  • Pages (if citing a particular passage)
  • URL (for e-books)
  • Date accessed or cited (for e-books)

Of course, there are many other types of publications or sources you might want to add to a citation list - for more detail on other formats, refer to the resources listed on this page.

Helpful links:

Common Citation Styles in the Health Sciences

ICMJE (formerly known as Vancouver) is the citation style of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and is frequently used in the medical sciences.

Journal article example:


e-Book example:

Other helpful resources:

APA is the citation style of the American Psychological Association and is commonly used in psychology and behavioural sciences.

Journal article example:


e-Book example:

Other helpful resources:

AMA is the citation style of the American Medical Association and is often used in biomedical sciences.

Journal article example:


e-Book example:

Other helpful resources:

Reference Management Tools

Reference management software can be a lifesaver for organizing your reference list and putting citations into the correct format. Currently, AHS supports the following three options:

Different tools have different advantages – the right one for you will depend on the complexity of your project, how you plan to use the tool, and whether you need to share. Check out Choosing a New Reference Manager and the Citation Management FAQ for more information.