Vegetation Ecology Lab / 植群生態研究室

Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University

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Reference style (Harvard)

(Updated in June 2021 - newly “et al.” does not need to be written in italics)

Let's use the unified reference style when citing the references. There are many styles, and different journals often require different styles. Since we are centred around vegetation ecology, let's keep using the style which is used by Journal of Vegetation Science and Applied Vegetation Science, the leading vegetation ecology journals. The details of this style are in Authors Guidelines e.g. here (section References).

Note that there is a difference between “in-text citations” and citations used in the “References” section.

  • “In-text citations” are those written within the main text of the paper, and include only surnames of authors. If the journal or book (chapter) has more than two authors, only the first one is mentioned, followed by “et al.” (which is an abbreviation of the Latin “and others”, et alii - that is why there is a dot after “al.”, but not after “et”).
  • “References” section, in contrary, includes also (abbreviated) first (and middle, if any) name of authors, the year of publication (in round parentheses), the full title of the article, the full name of the journal, volume (but not issue) of the paper, page range separated by en-dash (not a hyphen), and (if available) also DOI, Digital Object Identifier, helping to find the article online.

A quick overview is here (read below for details):

More details are below: the text copied and modified from the Authors Guidelines published at the website of the Journal of Vegetation Science. References should be prepared in the Harvard style (which is similar to APA 6 style). If you are preparing your manuscript for a certain journal, you usually need to first check the Authors Guidelines of that journal to know whether they do have some specific reference style.

In-text citations (those citations in the main text or on the slides) should follow the author-date method. One work by one author should be cited as:

  • In a previous study (Smith, 1990), vegetation was sampled …
  • In the study by Smith (1990), vegetation was sampled …

When a work has two authors, cite both names every time you reference the work in the text. For example:

  • In a previous study (Bond and Keely, 2005), vegetation was sampled…
  • In a study by Bond and Keely (2005), vegetation was sampled…

When a work has three or more authors include only the first author followed by “et al.”. For example:

  • Masserton et al. (1989) state that…
  • … as found by previous studies (e.g. Masserton et al., 1989), these measurements are…

For works by the same author written in the same year, use a lowercase letter after the year to distinguish them:

  • Jones (2019a; 2019b) reports that…

Unpublished sources should be indicated as ‘unpubl.’ or ‘pers. comm.’ (the latter with the date and description of the type of knowledge, e.g. ‘local farmer’). Submitted papers may be cited only if they are in some journal's editorial process, and the reference will have to be removed if the item has not been published (at least in early online view) by that journal by the time proofs are corrected for the citing paper.

The References section should provide a complete reference list ordered alphabetically by name at the end of the paper. For references with up to seven authors, all authors are listed. If there are eight or more authors, only the first six are listed followed by “et al.” Always give the full name of the journals. A DOI should be provided for all references where available.

Reference examples follow:

Journal article

  • Wilson, J.B., Sykes, M.T. and Peet, R.K. (1995) Time and space in the community structure of a species-rich limestone grassland. Journal of Vegetation Science, 6, 729–740. 10.2307/3236444


  • van der Maarel, E. and Franklin, J. (Eds) (2013) Vegetation Ecology, 2nd edition. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Book chapter

  • Peet, R.K. (2000) Forests and meadows of the Rocky Mountains. In: Barbour, M.G. and Billings, W.D. (Eds), North American Terrestrial Vegetation, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 75–122.

Internet document

References in languages other than English

Book titles and article titles should be translated into English, with the original language noted in parentheses afterwards. Titles of journals should remain in the original language. If the title of a journal is in a language that does not use the Latin alphabet, the journal title should be transliterated into Latin characters.


  • Mucina, L. (1985) To use or not to use Ellenberg's indicator values? (Slovak). Biológia, 40, 511–516.
  • Kholod, S.S. (2007) Classification of Wrangel Island vegetation (Russian). Rastitel'nost' Rossii, 11, 3–15.
  • Chiu, C.-A., Lin, H.-C., Liao, M.-C., Tseng, Y.-H., Ou, C.-H., Lu, K.-C., & Tzeng, H.-Y. (2008) A physiognomic classification scheme of potential vegetation of Taiwan (Chinese). Quarterly Journal of Forest Research, 30, 89–112.