Research and non-research articles must cite relevant and verified literature (peer-reviewed, where appropriate) to support any claims made in the article. Authors are strongly advised to avoid excessive and inappropriate self-citation or prearrangements among author groups to inappropriately cite each other's work, as this can be considered a form of misconduct. Authors of non-research articles (e.g., Reviews, Opinions) should ensure the references they cite are relevant and provide a fair and balanced overview of the current state of research on the topic and should not be biased towards a particular research group, organization or journal.

Full details of Dove Medical Press’ reference style guide can be found here. This will provide details on how to reference journal articles, books, conference proceedings, patents, clinical trials and other material. Some references should be included in the main text while others should be added to the references list. Details for several important reference types are described below.

The following types of references should be added to the main text only and should not be included in the formal reference list. Authors should consider adding the following types of references only when it is deemed to be necessary:

  • Unpublished observations: Any research findings which have not been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal should be referred to as “Unpublished data” in parentheses. Place references to these within the main text. For example: Our previous study showed metastases recurred in 10% of patients (Unpublished data).
  • Personal communications: Place references to personal communications such as letters, emails and conversations within the main text, not as formal end references. Include the nature and source of the cited information, using terms to indicate that no corresponding citation is in the reference list. Place the source information in parentheses. For example: … and most of these proved to be fatal (E Smith, National Cancer Institute, email [or personal] communication, June 2012) … It is the responsibility of authors to obtain permission from the person(s) they are quoting within the article. The process of obtaining permission should include sharing the article prior to submission, so that those being identified and quoted can verify the context in which they are being quoted. If permission cannot be obtained, the personal communication must be removed from the article.
  • Website links: Website links for product manufacturers or websites for programs should go within the main text.

The following types of articles should be added to the references list:

  • "In Press" article: Articles which have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal but have not yet been published should be referred to as “In Press” in lieu of publication dates.
  • Website links: Any references to websites that are not for product manufacturers or websites for programs should be included in the reference list. These should include the title of the site, the URL, and the date the website was accessed.
  • Preprints: Articles which have been published in preprint servers or institutional repositories should be cited in the Reference list. These should include the names of the authors, the title of the article, the DOI of the preprint, and the date the preprint was posted. If the preprint has been formally published in a peer-reviewed journal, authors should cite that version instead of the preprint.
  • Datasets: All data referenced in articles published by Dove Medical Press should be accompanied with a citation. Authors are also expected to include a Data Sharing Statement as this will help the reader identify and find the data set, and ensures you give credit to the individual or group who created the data. Dove Medical Press guidance on citing datasets is available here.
  • All our journals have a data sharing policy which highly encourage authors to cite data associated with their article. In general, the following elements should be included in data citations:

           o Author – the individual(s) responsible for the creation of the data
           o Material Designator – the tag “[dataset]”
           o Electronic Retrieval Location – a persistent identifier (e.g. DOI) where this is available
           o Publisher Location – this is often the repository where the author has deposited the data set

  • Thesis: Authors are encouraged to cite their thesis where this is relevant to their submission. In general, the following style should be followed for thesis which are stored in a repository or database:

           o Author name, “Title”, Thesis type, University, Year published; electronic retrieval location
             (DOI) where available


Updated 23 June 2020