This question regards Vancouver referencing, though I suppose the issue could really arise regardless of what is contained in the in-text citation.

Consider the sentence:

As dogs are mammals they give birth to live young.

Clearly this is better separated:

As dogs are mammals, they give birth to live young.

But what if we feel the need to justify the statement that dogs are mammals?

As dogs are mammals [1], they give birth to live young.


As dogs are mammals, [1] they give birth to live young.

The former makes more sense to me - I intuitively would like the citation to be contained on the same side of the comma as the clause to which it relates.

But I have a feeling the latter is perhaps 'correct', and the comma should not surround the citation, just as it should not surround a parenthetical? (Which I do unashamedly anyway)

  • For what it's worth, Wikipedia puts the superscript after any comma etc: 'In the arts and sciences chemistry, geometry, surgery, the blues,[1] jazz, ...'(this format doesn't copy accurately). This article doesn't: 'Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Sample References (2),' Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 18:29
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    Why dig up an old (and answer accepted) thread to say that?
    – OJFord
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 7:44
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    This question appears to be off-topic because Referencing questions are not on topic and should be asked on the Writers site Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 14:20
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    @FumbleFingers Well I didn't see you complaining 3 months ago when I asked it and got a good answer.
    – OJFord
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 16:20
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    @Ollie: I have never seen the point of questions asking about "citation style" on ELU, and have nothing but contempt for those who've voted to make How do you quote a passage that has used '{sic}' mistakenly? by far the most "interesting" question on the site. But I didn't know until a few days ago that writers.SE specifically welcomes such questions. Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


According to page 2 of this Vancouver Style Guide, the citation in brackets should be placed after any commas and periods.


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