August 30, 2017

Edifix and Vancouver/ICMJE Style: What the Heck Is ICMJE Style, and Is It Different from Vancouver?

First things first: Are ICMJE and Vancouver styles the same thing?

Short answer: Yes!

Longer answer: Well, it depends...


There is a specific editorial style, commonly called “Vancouver style,” that was adopted in 1978 by the International Council of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), is endorsed in the ICMJE’s Recommendations, and is used by MEDLINE, PubMed, and many other scientific publications. This specific style is also known as “Citing Medicine,” “ICMJE style,” and “PubMed/NLM style.”

Popular in medical, health science, and other scientific publications, ICMJE style came to be called Vancouver style because the 1978 meeting where it was adopted was held in Vancouver.

A reference in Vancouver/ICMJE style looks like this:


  1. Smith AB, Jones CD. Reference styles and other musings. J Citation Res 2014;1:200–215.
  • Edifix supports this specific editorial style, which appears on the style menu as Vancouver/ICMJE.

“Vancouver” Styles

A number of other specific editorial styles exist that, because they use numbered in-text citation and list reference entries in citation order, also fall under the umbrella of “Vancouver (numbered) citation style,” including the following:


  1. Smith AB, Jones CD. Reference styles and other musings. J Citation Res. 2014;1:200-215.

ACS (numbered):

  1. Smith, A.B.; Jones, C.D. Reference styles and other musings. J Citation Res 2014, 1 (4), 200–215.

CSE (citation-sequence):

  • 1Smith AB, Jones CD. Reference styles and other musings. J Citation Res. 2014 Dec 15;1(4):200-215.

ASM Press:

  1. Smith AB, Jones CD. 2014. Reference styles and other musings. J Citation Res 1:200-215.
  • Edifix supports all of these editorial styles using Vancouver-type numbered references, as well as several others.

Vancouver-type Numbered Citations

Finally, “Vancouver style” can refer simply to the practice of citing sources by number and listing them in order of citation. Items in a Vancouver-style reference list are numbered and are listed in the order in which they’re cited in the text (rather than alphabetically, as in an author-date reference list or a bibliography). The first citation will always be citation #1, and reference #1 will always be the first source cited in the text.

Vancouver-style citations in the text always use Arabic numerals, but these may be superscript or at baseline and may be used alone or enclosed in (parentheses) or [brackets].

Vancouver-style reference entries are always Arabic-numbered, but the numbers may be superscript or at baseline; may appear alone or enclosed in (parentheses) or [brackets]; and may be followed by a period plus a tab, a period plus a space, or a tab alone.

  • Edifix supports a variety of popular editorial styles that use numbered reference lists. Learn more!

To Vancouver … and Beyond!

If you’re submitting to or editing for a publication that uses Vancouver or “Vancouver” style, always check the style sheet for specific examples! As we’ve discussed, “Vancouver” can mean a number of subtly different things.

Whatever version of Vancouver style you’re looking for, though, it’s more than likely that Edifix can help! To sum up:

  • Edifix supports various numbered (“Vancouver”) reference styles, including the Vancouver Style, or ICMJE (as well as “Harvard”/author-date and other styles).

And not to worry: if your references are numbered,

  • Edifix won’t remove the numbers, regardless of the style you select.
Wondering whether Edifix supports the specific style you need?
Check out the Edifix FAQ!