Science students are expected to be able to find relevant information, process it critically and interpret the results responsibly. Unfortunately, students sometimes fail to report the work of others in their research and literature searches. These students are in fact committing plagiarism: they are suggesting that it is their own work, when it is actually someone else's work. Using correct references will avoid plagiarism.
Below you find more information on how to correctly reference. For more information on plagiarism, take a look at the Plagiarism FAQ.
There is no one standard for referencing literature in academic texts; in fact, dozens of different systems are used. A particular style is usually associated with a particular discipline; for example, the ACS style – the style of the American Chemical Society – is often used in chemistry and the CBE style in biology. Your lecturers can give you more information about the style you should use.
The referencing style determines how you reference a source. For example, you may include a brief reference in the text, such as a number or an author’s name and the year and then give more information at the end of the thesis.
Some formats and examples of reference styles are given in the Examples box.
Endnote and Mendeley are programs for creating your own reference database. The references stored in the database can be processed in MS Word as references, so that a list of references is produced automatically. Both programs allow you to select the reference style (e.g. ACS or CBE). You may also make your own changes to the style. You can find more information about these programs here:
The Library of Science regularly organises Endnote and Mendeley workshops: current workshops on offer.
Endnote is free for students and employees of Radboud University. At the ICT Service Point in the Central Library, you can have it put on your USB stick. Students of the Faculty of Science can download Endnote from C&CZ's install-site when on campus or connected via VPN.
Mendeley is a free software program and can be downloaded from their homepage.
How to judge whether literature is scientific or not? This is not an easy task. Journals offered by the University Library are considered peer-reviewed, but how about an unknown article on a website?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who placed the article? Is it a scientific organisation or not?
- Is the article published in other media as well? Are these media reliable and/or scientific?
- Is it a personal webpage or not?
- Is there a commercial interest involved?
Journals like Quest are popular scientific journals, but are not peer-reviewed and do have a commercial interest, so they are therefore not scientific.
Author, A. A. (if applicable). Name of the website. URL (accessed month, day, year), other identifying information (if available).
Acros.com. http://www.acros.com/ (accessed Dec 23, 2014).
Note: a digital article is not the same as a website! Have a look at this example. You should refer to this as an article, so do not use the website URL as a reference!
- Although you do not need to give the title of the article in the case of a printed journal article, this is recommended.
- Abbreviations of journal names are given in the Chemical Abstracts Service Source Abstracts (CASSI). The abbreviations of more than 1 000 popular chemical journals can be found in the ACS Style Guide on pages 328–339. You can also search by journal: http://cassi.cas.org/search.jsp
- In the case of an online article, you write [Online] after the journal abbreviation and give the URL at the end and the date on which you consulted the article.
Ellefson, J.W.; Gollihar, J.; Shroff, R.; Shivram, H.; Iyer, V.R.; Ellington, A.D. Synthetic evolutionary origin of a proofreading reverse transcriptase Science 2016, 352, pp 1590-1593
Muis, S; Verlaan, M; Winsemius, H.C.; Aerts, J.C.J.H.; Ward, P.J. A global reanalysis of storm surges and extreme sea levels Nature Communications 2016, 7, 11969. https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11969
Reference may be made to different types of books:
1) Books with authors
2) Books with editors
3) Chapters with authors, in a book with an editor or editors
1) Books with one or more authors
In the case of a book with authors, the names of the writers are given on the first page.
Author, A. A.; Author, B. B. Title of the book (italics), edition (if not the first edition); Publisher: Place, Year; Pages.
In the case of a digital book, you write [Online] after the title of the book and give the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) and the date on which you consulted the book.Examples
2) Books with editors: reference is made to the whole book
In the case of a book with editors, the names of the editors are given.
Title of the book (italics); Editor, A. A., Editor, B. B., Editor, C. C.; Information about the series (if applicable, including the number in the series); Publisher: Place, Year.
3) Chapters with one or more authors, in a book with one or more editors
Author, A. A.; Author, B. B. Title of the chapter. In Title of the book (italics), edition (if not the first edition); Editor, A. A., Editor, B. B.; Information about the series (if applicable, including the number in the series); Publisher: Place, Year; Volume Number (if applicable), Pages.
Article (lemma) in an encyclopaedia
Title of the article. Name of the encyclopaedia (italics), edition (if not the first edition); Publisher: Place, Year; Volume Number, Pages.
If an article has authors, you can start with that. In the case of an online article, you write [Online] after the title of the encyclopaedia and give the URL and the date on which you consulted the article.
Printed: Psychopharmacological Agents. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 4th ed.; Wiley: New York, 1996; Vol. 20, pp 455-457.
Digital: Aalberse, R. C.; Kapsenberg, M. L. Allergens. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences [Online]; Wiley: Chichester, 2006. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/npg.els.0000938/full (accessed Dec 23 2014).