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Writing and Publishing in the Medical and Health Sciences: Citing Sources

This guide is intended to inform authors about the key features of scholarly writing and publishing in the medical and health sciences.

Why Citing is Important

It's important to cite sources you used in your research for several reasons:

  • To show your reader you've done proper research by listing sources you used to get your information
  • To be a responsible writer and researcher by giving credit to other researchers and acknowledging their ideas
  • To avoid plagiarism by quoting words and ideas used by other authors
  • To allow your reader to track down the sources you used by citing them accurately in your paper by way a bibliography or reference list

Citation Guides

What to Cite

You must cite:

  • Facts, figures, ideas, or other information that is not common knowledge

  • Ideas, words, theories, or exact language that another person used in other publications

  • Publications that must be cited include:  books, book chapters, articles, web pages, theses, etc.

    Another person's exact words should be quoted and cited to show proper credit 

When in doubt, be safe and cite your source!


EndNote is a software program that allows you to collect and organize all those citations you need when writing your manuscripts. (Other similar programs are Mendeley, Zotero, Reference Manager and Papers. EndNote is the only one supported by Mayo Clinic)

You can import citations from a variety of different online bibliographic databases (PubMed, Ovid, CINAHL) or from publisher's websites. You can import citations from journal articles, book chapters, web pages, legal rules, etc.

It eliminates the arduous task of keying in all that information when you're formatting your bibliography in your word processing program (typically Microsoft Word).