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Patrick Dunleavy

@Write4Research and London School of Economics

With inputs from: Jane Tinkler (Nine Dots Prize), Sierra Williams (PeerJ), David Ross (Sage Open Access), Kieran Booluck (LSE Impact blog), Beth Clark (LSE Library, Head of the Digital Scholarship and Innovation Group), and Nancy Graham, (LSE Library, Research Support team head)

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Executive Summary

Many current academic citation and referencing practices are out of date and dysfunctional, especially in leading only to closed-access and paywall sources, or in providing only details of ‘legacy’ print formats. The central principles of this Digital Style Guide are that

1 All citations/ references should lead wherever possible to a digital text, database, or other information source.

2. The primary source cited should wherever possible be open access — so that it is immediately available in one click to readers. Closed access and paywall sources should always be cited as well, but now in a secondary role.

3. Where an open access digital source is not available, referencing only closed access and paywall sources will have to suffice, as now. However, authors should try to provide clickable links to additional information useful to readers. We suggest economical ways of doing this.

4. Adapting to this new orientation requires some detailed but consequential changes in the items included in all citations, and in how they are triggered in texts and other outputs. We set out a modernized approach to citing, adapted to 21st century academic and scientific practice in an increasingly globalized academia.


A. Major issues and suggested innovations

B. Smaller suggested changes in citations procedures

C. Detailed Guide: How to cite different kinds of core academic sources

A. Major Issues and Suggested Innovations

1. Seeking to provide digital open access citations raises a number of fundamental issues which need to be tackled in a concerted way.

The rationale for open access and open science

2. The suggestions in this style guide are designed to radically and quickly improve the communication between university researchers and very large groups of readers worldwide who do not have comprehensive access to paywalled sources (such as most academic journals and books). An expensive facility like Science Direct, which allows those with very high quality access arrangements to the right journals to immediately consult any referenced sources (wherever it is located), shows the enormous potential here.

3. The main sets of people who would be helped by the far wider open access approach set out here are skilled knowledge workers:

- Researchers, teachers and graduate students in smaller or less elite universities. Worldwide we estimate that there are around 60 million people working or studying in higher education. Staff and students at around 2,500 elite or better-funded universities have excellent digital access to journal resources via their libraries. But many other institutions have only limited or very partial access to journals, and often now relatively few books beyond online textbooks.

- Teachers and students in near-university colleges and in further education systems, who number many millions but often have little access to any sources beyond textbooks.

- Executives and professional in private sector corporations — ranging from multi-national through medium sized to small firms. Business people generally have no regular or easy access to academic journals and few research books — outside small specialist staffs in major corporation R & D labs.

- Civil servants and government or public sector officials have little access to journals or academic books, and restricted budgets to acquire any more. Again there are some exceptions for small staffs in specialist R & D labs, and partial exceptions for public health care system doctors and some health professionals.

- Staff in charities, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and many professional organizations may have small libraries of key books but generally cannot afford journal subscriptions.

- Most professionals in private practice and independent scientific research and advisory roles.

- Consultants, media intermediaries, journalists and bloggers.

4. All these groups now play essential and enduring roles in sustaining contemporary complex civilizations, and in co-producing and disseminating knowledge that is vital for academic and scientific development. Collectively some experts have suggested that these kinds of knowledge workers number at least 120 million people worldwide. The goals of ‘open science’ and the open access movement generally recognize that university researchers must work co-operatively with as many others as possible to maximize the value of scientific and academic work. Increasingly too these goals have been strongly supported by government funding agencies across the UK and the European Union, Australia and other countries; and by almost all the world’s largest philanthropic foundations. For instance, every journal article that is to count for universities in attracting research support from the UK government in its 2021 audit of research (the ‘REF’) must be available in an open access form. Paywall-only articles are disqualified from the exercise and will attract no grant funding (although there are a few exceptions).

5. In addition, systematically fostering open access can help a far wider range of people with the interests and skills relevant to scientific and academic work to stay in touch with the disciplines from which they have graduated, and to find out about new areas of knowledge advance. Key groups here are:

- independent researchers and authors working outside of a university affiliation;

- PhDers and others studying at advanced level but not full time, or not at elite institutions;

- school and college teachers; and

- people who might have liked to pursue further study or an academic career but could not for various logistical or financial reasons;

- interested alumni from your own university, especially those recently graduated, and others with particular aptitude or interest in an area of work; and

- ‘lay’ people who have many good reasons to learn about and critically assess specialist knowledge in particular areas — such as patients with particular diseases or conditions, and their families and carers; or members of the public concerned about pollution problems, environmental conservation, historical heritage preservation or cultural development and creative arts.

Huge numbers of people in all these categories constitute the ‘informed public’ whose support is crucial for the continuing development of scientific research and academic work across many different fields.

Prioritizing open access sources

6. We are still transitioning to fully open access publication, and probably will be for the next fifteen to twenty years. In this interim period, different types of sources have to be handled in somewhat different ways.

(i) The simplest case is where the full, final text is gold open access (OAg), free of charge to all readers, with no paywall. For OAg texts published in as articles in a journal and as books, this solution generates the smallest and most efficient references, with no need for duplication. Include the digital object identifier (DOI) number in a web-clickable format (i.e. followed by the DOI number). If an OAg source has no DOI, there should be a permanent URL, which can be used instead.

(ii) Where a paywall article or book has a ‘green’ open access (OA) version, the author has deposited a final manuscript version or even a proof read/edited version of the paper in a university or institutional repository, from which it can be downloaded free of charge. Here cite the green OA source first. Give the Repository Name and a permanent URL. The best institutional repositories will have their own distinctive shortened URL links (e.g. a Stanford University one looks like this:; or they will issue DOI numbers for all their documents; or preferably do both. In addition, the paywall version of the text is then always cited second (see examples below). The formatting here is broadly as now, except for some small changes in conventions suggested below.

(iii) For texts without a formal green OA version, the paywall or closed access version is cited first, again broadly as now. However, wherever authors know of a version of the text available on one or more widely used commercial sources — especially ResearchGate, or Mendeley — links to them should be cited second. These sites do not meet the ‘purist’ definition of green open access. Nor are their URL links guaranteed to be as permanent as institutional repositories. However, they are extensively used already by scientists and academics, and their value is widely appreciated by researchers and students. These sites do also provide ‘enduring URLs’, which empirically are much less likely to go out of date and be subject to ‘link rot’, and thus should stay valuable for readers over many years.

(iv) Where a paywall text Z is digitally inaccessible but does have an earlier or alternate version Y, authors should cite Y as a separate entry, and link Z to Y. Check to see if you can find a related version of the text — such as a pre-print, conference paper or working paper. Text Y may differ from the final ‘version of record’ in Z. Yet Y helps most readers by bearing a ‘close family resemblance’ to the inaccessible text, and in many cases it may be near-identical. At the end of the citation for text Z, just put: ‘See also text Y’.

(v) Finally, if none of these strategies is possible, the closed or paywall source is cited alone, again broadly as now.

Page numbers and precise quotation

7. Precision in quotation is an important scholarly virtue, enabling readers to check that a view attributed to another author has not been misquoted, manipulated or taken out of context. In the legacy print model page numbrs were the essential vehicle for achieving precision . However:

- Page numbers are already completely different in ‘early online’ versions of journal articles that are later grouped into volumes and issues for a print version — often now with a lag of up to 18 months. In a digital world these early online versions may in fact remain fully available, creating long-running and not time-limited ‘version control’ problems. (And of course, early online versions are often lodged near-permanently in Mendeley and other peer-based repositories from which they are widely available still). Some top journals have responded by shifting to ‘continuous online’ publishing, sensibly abandoning altogether the ‘print legacy’ concept of issues (with pagination defined across multiple papers).

- In digital texts page breaks can only be held the same as in print versions by using restrictive formats, like PDFs, which have many disadvantages still. Most HTML format articles are continuous and do not indicate where print page breaks occur.

8. As soon as we assign priority to open access and digital sources these already serious obsolescence problems become critical. Many important digital sources (like blogs) have no page numbers or page breaks, but can still be lengthy and substantial contributions to scholarly debate. And with other digital texts (such as books on Kindle or in ebook versions) readers themselves control the font size, and so change how pages appear and where page breaks occur.

9. We suggest that page numbers should be scrapped completely. Instead precise quotation should be realized in the following way. If author A wants to specifically cite a particular piece of author B’s work, then A must quote a minimum five or six word phrase in their main text that is distinctive to the passage being cited. A reader following the digital trail then clicks on A’s URL link to B’s text, crosses to it and from the top of B’s text uses Ctrl+F plus the quote text to find the exact passage involved.

10. In practice this means that we must completely abandon the familiar but vague style of reference where an author summarizes and cites a text, without specifically quoting from it. Without page numbers we can only cite like this:

‘Shifting functions from the government sector to off-budget bodies has been a core element in new public management (NPM) approaches (Dunleavy and Margetts, 2013)’.

But we achieve precision by instead including a findable and distinctive short quote:

‘Margetts and Dunleavy (2013) consider “externalizing services from the government sector to off-budget bodies” as a core element in new public management (NPM) approaches’.

11. Note that fixed numbering systems for exhibits — such as Figure, Table, and Box numbers — remain perfectly viable in the digital open access citation system. So too do section or paragraph numbers, often used in ‘grey literature’ reports; and numbering systems from older main texts, such as the books, chapters and verses of the Bible.

Enhancing the reproducibility and replication of research

12. In some STEM disciplines — especially medicine, psychology and bio-sciences — some recent research has suggested that the results from many peer reviewed articles published in top science journals cannot be reproduced by the same investigators using the same techniques, nor replicated by other teams. Such concerns are corrosive of the public trust in science. Other studies in the social sciences have found that research teams can rather easily make mistakes in creating, cleaning or analysing datasets.

13. In response, increasing numbers of journals in quantitative disciplines have begun to require that researchers whose articles are accepted also make available a ‘replication archive’. This should contain their key data, along with sufficient information on variables and methods to allow other users to check their methods, processes and results in detail, and if appropriate to seek to replicate them. Such enhanced replicability requirements are harder to develop in the qualitative social sciences, such as studies relying on non-attributable interviews. The issue also remains very controversial in some humanities subjects, especially perhaps for historical or literary work based on un-digitized and hard-to-access paper archives.

14. Fostering greater open access can help to improve replicability in two main ways. First, a shift to more of a ‘show and tell’ ethos might (for example) see historians depositing with their articles or books their own numerous photographs of key passages from otherwise undigitized documents. Second, the computer scientist Eric Raymond summed up the ethos of the ‘open source’ movement in software development by saying: ‘Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow’. By helping more readers to immediately find more source materials in their full form, open access powerfully counteracts the risks of academics misinterpreting other authors’ work; of researchers misreading or misquoting sources such as datasets, data tables or archive entries; or of technical mistakes in analysis going unnoticed in algorithms, statistics, spreadsheets, software or other models.

15. For all qualitative work in the social sciences, the Princeton political scientist Andrew Moravscik suggested two key rules for ‘active citation’ in 2009:

‘Rigor: Any critical and contested substantive empirical point in a scholarly case study should be backed by a precise and annotated citation to one or more presumptively primary sources.

Transparency: Citations must contain a hypertext link to a reproduction or transcript of some part of the source’.

Moravcsik argues that these steps can boost the reliability of qualitative research by enhancing the quality of scholarship; encouraging wider criticism; creating richer secondary analysis and meta- analysis; and fostering greater inter-disciplinary engagement. A later 2014 piece develops his theme that ‘Transparency is the cornerstone of social science’ — especially complete clarity in what the data actually show; how analyses have been conducted; and ‘production transparency’ covering how sources were selected. Our suggestions below are strikingly consistent with this approach, and could help create some of the building blocks that Moravcsik advocates.

16. In some preliminary groundbreaking work on these ideas, it became clear that the current partial development of digitization is seen by some humanities scholars as a basis for negating any move to greater open access sourcing of historical data and documentation by researchers themselves. On this view, academics have no role to play in making sources more open via their research: we should instead wait for some future, official ‘big bang’ digitization effort to get funded. To the contrary, we believe with Moravcsik that the everyday work of scholarship can rapidly have transformative effects on the digital availability of documents and information. To take a small example from the UK government. Here documents often become inaccessible in practical terms after any change of government (when ministers and policies shift). Whitehall departments send almost all their previous materials to the National Archives, which then takes time to get them back up online, and then only in part. Yet if academics have stored their own downloaded copies of reports etc on Mendeley or other peer-store sites, these materials remain immediately available for use by scholarly communities.

What we are NOT saying

17. Earlier versions of many of the ideas here have been imperfectly expressed in blogposts, which have in turn generated very substantial volumes of Twitter commentary. Many Twitter participants have apparently responded to previous tweets they saw, but without reading the original blogposts, therefore missing some context for the ideas discussed. And scholars in some disciplines and specialisms — especially historians and archivists — have clearly reacted very adversely to some of the issues and sensitivities raised for them here.

18. So here is a list of completely false propositions that were generated in the Twitterstorm, and which we are NOT saying or advocating.

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B. Smaller suggested changes in citation procedures

For all items

Give Surname, Full First Name for all authors, and optionally one more initial as well. Rationale — simply giving one initial and surname is radically insufficient to create distinctive identities in a globalized academic world.

Use semi-colons to separate out author name in long lists. Rationale — existing listing practices (using just commas and stops) assume that (Western) first names and surnames are clearly distinguishable. This is not the case with authors from many different countries and cultures.

When OA and published texts are both available, always assume that the final, formally published text is the author’s preferred version. Rationale — this will generally be the case, and in STEM sciences especially the journal paper is also the ‘version of record’. The only exception occurs if you know that the author has explicitly signalled something contrary — e.g. by putting up an OA version that is newer, revised or updated compared to the paywall version (like a ‘Director’s Cut’ of a film).

Use shortened URLs to replace any lengthy URL, especially perhaps non-permanent URLs. Rationale — For aesthetic reasons it is best to avoid long URLs, which are also liable to transcription errors, especially if there are gaps or underlines in addresses. Many long addresses (e.g. for blogposts and magazines) also repeat the title of pieces. A key disadvantage though is that if shortened URLs are wrongly transcribed, they become irrecoverable — so their resilience is low.

In addition, there are different types of shortened URLs. Short links from university repositories are clearly best for their own contents. Some academic purists criticize commercial short URLs as potentially adding to ‘link rot’ if a whole company ceases business and all its links then cease to work. Some small academic sites seek to guarantee permanent URLs. However, empirical experience suggests that perilously funded sites are in fact those most likely to cease operating. So you may be better off using a big and more viable commercial shortening site, such as at, chosen here. This site is also very simple to use.

For journal articles

Never use abbreviations of journal names. Rationale — abbreviations are an absurd legacy hangover from the days when ‘hot metal’ printing was expensive, and when closed elites knew every esoteric abbreviation in their field. In the digital and OA era this past practice is completely pointless. (However, you may still have to comply with pointless formats when submitting journal articles).

Always use the full web address format for DOIs, beginning Rationale — this already forms a welcome part of APA (American Psychological Association) style guidance. Giving a DOI not as a web address is not clearly clickable and may be confusing for new students and readers. How to do it — find the DOI Number of a journal article on its opening web or printed page, and add it (with no spaces) after the prefix above — e.g.

For books

Give country of publication. Rationale — some multi-national publishers still run pretty separate operations in different countries — e.g. Oxford University Press in the UK/USA versus OUP in India. Knowing which country a publisher is in is also more important as we move towards a global academia.

Don’t give place of publication for publishers. Rationale — no one cares about this any more. Indeed it is now often pretty hard to find out from either books or publisher’s websites exactly which city or town publishers are located in (or which of their multiple sites is the operative ‘home’ one). All publishers are online so this is now unnecessary.

For publisher names, give enough to be distinctive or familiar, but no more. Rationale — readers only want to find the publisher, not write them a legal letter, so leave out ‘and Co’, ‘Inc’, ‘Books,’ and unnecessary parts of the legal name.

Give a working publisher’s URL for every book, even if it is not a permanent URL. Rationale — clicking through can help readers find out more about the text easily. Even if link rot later occurs, a ‘fail’ message can still help readers search for the book within the publisher’s site. How to do it — check the publisher’s website.

Give a Google Books shortened URL for every book, so long as you find that a ‘snippet view’ or better is available. Rationale — this information is partial. But it can none the less greatly help potential readers to better assess the value of the text for their distinctive needs, before incurring the costs of ordering it or looking for it in a library. For instance, a search in GB will often let you see how many times a concept, country or issue is mentioned in a book, even if many of the pages are not viewable. How to do it — check Google Books.

Signal when an e-book or digital version of an otherwise paper-only book is available in at least some libraries, using the [LEV] code explained below. Rationale — this helps potential readers to see if their library has (or can arrange) access. How to do it — include the [LEV] code if your own library holds a digital version or if you know of another library that does. [For experts: Publisher’s online catalogue pages sometimes indicate this (but not universally), as do World Cat entries].

C. Detailed Guide on How to Cite Core Academic Sources

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‘Gold’ OA journal article:

Teruya, Kenta; Oguma, Ayumi; Nishizawa, Keiko; Kamitakahara, Hiroshi; and Doh-ura, Katsumi. (2017) ‘Pyrene conjugation and spectroscopic analysis of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose compounds successfully demonstrated a local dielectric difference associated with in vivo anti-prion activity’, PLoS ONE, 21 September. [OAg] from

Comment: ‘Gold’ open access is the ideal format for keeping citations brief and clear. Note that the full name of the journal (which is PLoS ONE) is used. The DOI has resilient features by including a journal name reference (the ‘pone’ bit). With continuous online publishing volume and issues numbers are irrelevant. However, giving the day date of publication can help readers find materials in an online mega-journal like this. Note that the authors’ use of a full narrative heading helps to clarify a complex STEM title, while also giving the key finding well.

Margetts, Helen and Dunleavy, Patrick. (2013) ‘The second wave of digital-era governance: a quasi-paradigm for government on the Web’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, vol. 371, pp. 1–17. [OAg] from

Comment: Another simple OAg reference. The journal’s name is spelt out in full, ignoring its own (unpredictable) convention for abbreviating (which is Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A). Again, the ‘rsta’ in the DOI identifies the source (for an expert), somewhat improving its resilience to transcription errors. No issue number is needed or possible because this journal does continuous online publication.

‘Green’ OA journal article

Chalykh, Oleg and Silantyev, Alexei. (2017) ‘KP hierarchy for the cyclic quiver’. [OA] from White Rose Research Online:

Also: Journal of Mathematical Physics, vol. 58, issue 7 (July). [PW].

Comment: With a ‘green’ OA journal article, a full text version is freely available (here, an accepted manuscript) and is referenced first. However, we must assume that the author’s preferred version (and ‘version of record’) is the paywall one, given second — with a [PW] warning for readers. This is published online but has an issue number also. As with most commercial journal articles, note that it is easy to make transcription errors in a numbers only DOI, and it is impenetrable if such a mistake is made.

Dunleavy, Patrick and Diwakar, Rekha. (2013) ‘Analysing multiparty competition in plurality rule elections’, LSE Research Online: [OA].

And: Party Politics, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 855–886. [PW].

Comment: Here we give the date, volume, issue number, and pagination of the final 2013 paywall version — even though this exact paper was in fact fully published ‘early online’ 18 months earlier, in 2011, and of course with different pagination. Again this kind of DOI is easy to mis-transcribe.

Journal article available digitally, but not as a formal OA version

Wu, Yong; Li, Pengpeng; Zheng, Ping; Zhou, Wenjuan; Chen, Ning; and Sun, Jibin. (2015) ‘Complete genome sequence of Corynebacterium glutamicum B253, a Chinese lysine-producing strain’, Journal of Biotechnology, vol. 207, no.10 pp.10–11. [PW]. See also [Non$] from ResearchGate: Wu, Yong; Sun, Jibin; and Zheng, Ping. (2015) ‘Corynebacterium glutamicum strain B253 plasmid, complete sequence’

Comment: This is a short data report, so it is especially valuable to have an easily accessible, non-paywall version. The RG link is lengthy, so a shortened URL helps concision. Note that authors and title differences across the two versions have to be recorded.

Fisher, Dana R. and Green, Jessica F. (2004) ‘Understanding Disenfranchisement: Civil Society and Developing Countries’ Influence and Participation in Global Governance for Sustainable Development’, Global Environmental Politics, Vol. 4, no. 3. pp.65–84. [PW]. See also [Non$] from Research Gate:

Comment: Again the RG link is lengthy, so a shortened URL is used.

Journal article is paywalled but has a ‘family resemblance’ version

Günther, Isabel; Grosse, Melanie; Klasen, Stephan. (2016) ‘How to Attract an Audience at a Conference: Paper, Person or Place?’, German Economic Review, Early view: 13 September. [PW]. And see:

Günther, Isabel; Grosse, Melanie; Klasen, Stephan (2016) ‘How to attract an audience at a conference: Paper, person or place?’, Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth — Discussion Papers, №210. [OA]

Comment: Both these versions seem substantively the same, as witnessed by strong title similarities. So the second cite may actually be an OA version of the first. But in cases of any doubt treating the second version as a ‘family resemblance’ piece (and giving a full second reference) is safer.

Journal article with no OA or alternate version

Ray, Shakuntala. (2016) ‘forbidden tastes: queering the palate in anglophone Indian fiction’, Feminist Review, vol. 114, no.1, pp.17–32. [PW]

Comment: The reference here is essentially as now. Not using capital letters at the start of the title or for the word Anglophone look like mis-spellings, but this is how this journal does things.

Holman, Rury R; Betherl, M. Angelyn; Mentz, Robert J; Thompson, Vivian P; Lokhnygina, Yuliya; Buse, John B; Chan, Juliana C; Choi, Jasmine; Gustavson, Stephanie M; Iqbal, Nayyar; Maggioni, Aldo P; Marso, Steven P; Öhman, Peter; Pagidipati, Neha J; Poulter, Neil; Ramachandran, Ambady; Zinman, Bernard; and Hernandez, Adrian F. for the EXSCEL Study Group. (2017) ‘Effects of Once-Weekly Exenatide on Cardiovascular Outcomes in Type 2 Diabetes’, New England Journal of Medicine, 377, pp. 1228–1239. [PW]

Comment: This article has 18 authors with diverse names, so using semi-colons really helps to give a clear author list. Some journals may ask that you limit names to only 5 or 10 people. If not constrained to do so, it is worthwhile listing up to (say) 20 authors, but not more than that. This top medical journal also includes degrees in the full author list (omitted here), but still perversely abbreviates its own name (to N Engl J Med), which makes no sense at all.

Weeks, Jeffrey. (1982) ‘Foucault for Historians’, History Workshop №14 (Autumn), pp. 106–119. [PW] JSTOR stable URL:

Comment: This older article has no DOI number. But JSTOR has assigned it a stable URL, which is cited instead.


Gold OA Book

Scott-Brown, Sophie. (2017) The Histories of Raphael Samuel: A portrait of a people’s historian. Australia: ANU Press. 265 pages. [OAg] from or

Comment: This book is digitally published from the outset for free OA download. Again this makes for a shorter and very clear reference, especially by using the URL for the free download page. As a world-leading OA publisher, ANU Press also assigns a DOI to all its books. But the URL here is easier to follow and so may be more resilient. The catalogue page URL (covering sales also) is longer and not included:

‘Green’ OA Book

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2017) Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance. [OA] from Also [PW] from Washington (DC): National Academies Press. [PUB]

Comment: The permanent URL here leads to a webpage that allows only section-by-section downloads in HTML format (an off-putting choice which requires over 10 downloads to get the whole document). The National Academies give no DOI number. This all seems to be designed to get people to purchase the hardback paper copy, and the [PW] links leads only to the relevant catalogue page.

Non-OA book

Dunleavy, Patrick and Carrera, Leandro. (2013) Growing the Productivity of Government Services. UK: Edward Elgar. 365 pages, [PW]. See [PUB] or [GB]. Also [LEV]

Comment: Most paper academic books are still without Kindle or ebook versions, and so are essentially inaccessible outside (elite) university libraries. Yet it can still help readers to give as much extra information in one click as possible. The first URL here links to the Publisher’s website page. The second links to Google Books (when it holds a ‘snippet view’ of the book or better, as here). The [LEV] code shows that a digital library version is available in some places: university users may then search to see if it is locally accessible to them.

Non-OA paper-only book with ‘family resemblance’ version

Book cite: Dunleavy, Patrick. (1981) The Politics of Mass Housing in Britain: A Study of Corporate Power and Professional Influence in the Welfare State (UK: Clarendon Press). [LEV] See also Dunleavy (1978) next.

‘Family resemblance’ cite: Dunleavy, Patrick. (1978) The politics of high rise housing in Britain: local communities tackle mass housing (UK: Oxford University PhD thesis). [OAg] from Oxford University Research Archive: and from LSE Research Online:

Comment: Perhaps ironically, the book here has gone out of print, and so is now only accessible in libraries with a legacy copy. But the PhD thesis (on which it was 90% based) was belatedly digitized by the university involved (Oxford). So the ‘family resemblance’ OAg source is a typescript manuscript from their repository (with rather a long URL). The author has also uploaded the thesis on their current university repository, giving a second OAg reference. The core arguments of most of the text are hence digitally accessible.


Gold OA Edited Book

Nicolas Peterson and Anna Kenny (eds) German Ethnography in Australia. Australia: ANU Press. [OAg] from or

Comment: Again ANU Press assigns a DOI to all its edited books. But the URL is easy to follow and so may be more resilient.

Green OA Edited Book

Institute of Medicine (1995) Environmental Medicine: Integrating a Missing Element into Medical Education. Pope A. M; and Rall D. P. (eds). USA: Institute of Medicine Committee on Curriculum Development in Environmental Medicine. [OA] from

Also [PW] USA: The National Academies Press.

Comment: The American National Academies publications often have complex authorship arrangements, so here using a corporate author is appropriate. The first names for editors cannot apparently be retrieved from any version of this older text. The green [OA] version here is on the Pub Med Bookshelf.

Non OA Edited book

Stoker, Gerry and Evans, Mark (eds) (2016) Evidence-Based Policymaking in the Social Sciences: Methods that Matter. UK: Policy Press. [PW]. See [PUB]

Or [GB].

Comment: Commercial publishers give deplorably little information about what is in their edited books. But the Google Books preview is useful.


Gold OA Book Chapter

McCaul, Kim. (2017) ‘Clamor Schürmann’s contribution to the ethnographic record for Eyre Peninsula, South Australia ‘, in Nicolas Peterson and Anna Kenny (eds) German Ethnography in Australia. Australia: ANU Press, Ch. 3, pp. 57–78. [OAg] from or

Comment: ANU Press alsoleads best practice internationally in assigning a distinctive DOI to each chapter in its edited books. But the URL is easy to follow and so may be more resilient.

Green OA Book Chapter

Ainley, Kirsten. (2017) ‘Retreat or retrenchment? An analysis of the International Criminal Court’s failure to prosecute presidents’. [OA] at: (14 pages). Also [PW] in Brysk, Alison and Stohl, Michael, (eds.) Contracting Human Rights: Crisis, Accountability, and Opportunity. UK: Edward Elgar. Forthcoming.

Comment: Open access versions of chapters are often available before their paywall publication, and so may await pagination details.

Book chapter widely available digitally, but not as a formal OA version

Dunleavy, Patrick. (2016) ‘”Big data” and policy learning’, in Gerry Stoker and Mark Evans (eds) Evidence-Based Policymaking in the Social Sciences: Methods that Matter. UK: Policy Press. Ch. 8, pp. 143–67. [PW]. Also [Non$] from: ResearchGate at:

Comment: Like most edited books from commercial publishers, this one has only a single catalogue page, which gives only the briefest (almost useless) details of chapters. Of course, none of the chapters has a DOI. The full URL for Research Gate here is ugly and likely to be mis-transcribed ( and so is better given as a shortened URL (see discussion above).

Book chapter with no OA, digital or alternate version

Kalska-Szostko, Beata; Rogowska, M; Pigiel; A; and Satula, Darius. (2014) Chapter 2. ‘Novel Magnetic Carbon Biocomposites’, Ch.2 in Sabu Thomas, Nandakumar Kalarikkal, A. Manuel Stephan, B. Raneesh and A. K. Haghi (eds) Advanced Nanomaterials: Synthesis, Properties, and Applications. UK: Apple Academic Press. [PW]. See also [GB]. Also [LEV]

Comment: The original publisher here offers visitors to its web page a link to the Google Books preview pages, underlining the usefulness of this source for potential readers. Reissued as downloadable in its own right the chapter has its own DOI. The whole book is also available in an ebook version in some libraries.


OAg Conference paper

Chatzilygeroudis, Konstantinos; Rama, Roberto; Kaushik, Rituraj; Goepp, Dorian; Vassiliades, Vassilis; and Mouret, Jean-Baptiste. (2017) ‘Black-Box Data-efficient Policy Search for Robotics’. Paper to the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), at Vancouver: September. [OAg] from (22 July).

Comment: This conference paper is available open access on the pre-print server arXiv — again use the full web clickable version for this URL. Two dates are needed here, one for the conference, and one for the arXiv version being put up (which is itself revised from the initial March 2017 version deposited).

Ogden, Jessica; Strutt, Kristian; Keay, Simon; Earl, Graeme; and Kay, Stephen. (2010) ‘Geophysical prospection at Portus: an evaluation of an integrated approach to interpreting subsurface archaeological features’, In Proceedings of the 37th Computer Applications to Archaeology Conference (CAA, 2009). Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, pp. 1–17. [OAg] from [VOR]

Comment: The authors have designated this OAg paper as the version of record. Note that Conference year is slightly earlier.

OA Conference paper

Dunleavy, Patrick and Margetts, Helen (2015) ‘Design Principles for Essentially Digital Governance’, Paper to the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, 3–6 September. 31 pages. [OAg] from LSE Research Online: , and [OA] Conference site:

Comment: Many conference papers are only available from the conference website, which may not stay up permanently, or even for more than a year, and where URLs may not be permanent. Here a gold open access version is cited first. But readers may also derive useful information from an enduring conference site — such as looking at other papers in the same panel.

Conference paper with only paywall access

McDermott, Steven E. (2010) ‘White’s Three Disciplines and Relative Valuation Order: Countering the Social Ignorance of Automated Data Collection and Analysis’. In: 2010 International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), 9–11 August 2011, Odense, Denmark. Available or [PW].

Comment: A professional body has kept this paper available long-term (but behind a paywall), and assigned it a DOI also. There is an entry for it on a UK university repository, but there is no full text there, so it is not worth citing.

Working paper (assume OA)

André, Paul; Schraefel, m. c; Dix, Alan; White, Ryen W; Bernstein, Michael; and Luther, Kurt (2010) ‘Designing for Schadenfreude (or, how to express well-being and see if you’re boring people)’. [OAg] from: Paper to CHI 2010 Workshop on Microblogging: Atlanta, Georgia.10–15 April. 4 pages.

Comment: Working papers are treated as published to the web. This one was also presented at a workshop, and so extra information is included that may help readers.

Pre-print (assume OA)

Acharya, Anurag; Verstak, Alex; Suzuki, Helder; Henderson, Sean; Iakhiaev, Mikhail; Chiung Yu Lin, Cliff; and Shetty, Namit. (2014) ‘Rise of the Rest: The Growing Impact of Non-Elite Journals’, Research Paper, Google Inc. 9 October 2014. [OAg] from:

Comment: This is corporate research by Google Scholar, published OA only on a leading preprint server. Note the usefulness of semi-colons in creating a completely clear, multi-national author list.

OA Stored Blogpost

Dunleavy, Patrick (2016) ‘Submitting to a journal commits you to it for six weeks to six months (or longer) — so choose your journal carefully’, LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog, 10 November. [OAg] from: Original source:

Comment: Blogposts are treated similarly to magazines, so we need the official blog name and the precise day date of publication. All blogposts are digital and their content starts off freely accessible. But direct links to blogposts may not be permanent. Here the post is lodged in the university’s repository, and this [OAg] version is given first. However, readers normally benefit from seeing a post within its original blog context — e.g. they can see comments on it and often precursors (as here) — so a still-live link to a blog version is also included. A shortened URL is used because blogposts often have long web addresses duplicating the post title, as here.

Blogpost (not OA stored)

McCormack, Donna. (2016) ‘Evolutionary Theory and the Humanities’, UK: Surrey English Blog, 25 January. [OA]

Comment: Many academic blogposts are widely available on university-run permanent URLs, without quite making it into their university repository, as here. This post also exhibits a common problem with blogs, namely pretty ‘submerged’ information on who is actually the author.


Gold OA Report (simple cases)

Royal Academy of Engineering (2017) Creating Cultures Where all Engineers Thrive: A unique study of inclusion across UK engineering. UK: Royal Academy of Engineering, 58 pages. [OAg] from:

Comment: This recent report is available free from the publisher, a professional body. We have to trust that it stays that way on this URL. As with many corporate ‘grey literature’ reports no authors are identified, and even a formal date of publication is hard to find, although the year is probably correct. For any paginated report it helps readers to always indicate how long it is, so that they can distinguish substantial publications (as here) from short communications or arguments.

White Anne, and Dunleavy, Patrick. (2010) Making and Breaking Whitehall Departments: A Guide to Machinery of Government Changes. UK: Institute for Government (London) and LSE Public Policy Group), 107 pages. [OAg] from LSE Research Online: Original publisher: [OA]

Comment: This is a collaborative report between a think tank and an academic unit, which has been filed in a gold OA way in the university repository. So the OAg source is given first. The URL for the NGO is OA and is still working seven years on, and so is included second: it is rather long and could be shortened (see discussion earlier). Note that the NGO name is rather undistinctive so a city clarifier (London) is added, as well as country of publication. Again page length is a useful indicator of a substantial source here.

Gold OA Report (complex case)

Dunleavy, Patrick; Margetts, Helen; Tinkler, Jane; and Raraty, David. With Dorrell, David; Goldchluk, Sofia; Khan, Mohammed Khalid; Towers, Ed; Escher, Tobias; Reissfelder, Stephane; and Hinds, Liane. (2009) Department for Work and Pensions: Communicating with customers. UK: HMSO. National Audit Office Report, 40 pages. (Comptroller and Auditor General, HC 421 Session 2008–2009). [OAg] from: LSE Research Online:

Comment: With reports by teams, try to include all authors, even if it is a long list, or distinguishes first and second tier authors (as here). This is an official report (hence a Parliamentary papers number is included as an archival backstop). However, this report was produced by an academic team and lodged with their university depository (with the original publisher NAO’s permission), effectively creating an [OAg] document. As with many non-current government texts the report is actually no longer available online from the original publishing department (NAO), so no URL is given for that.


Newspaper/ magazine OA

New York Times. (2016). ‘Events That Led to Flint’s Water Crisis’, 21 January. [OA] from:

Comment: With some newspaper items there are no author details to give, as here. Strictly this may not meet OA standards, but the source is a major and reliably availableone.

Newspaper/ magazine, only on paywall

The Economist (2014) ‘Scotland’s referendum: Britain survives’, 19 September. [PW]

Comment: Again there are no author details here. Giving a paywall URL may help readers in libraries with auto-access linking.

Our future agenda for adding additional kinds of source

We are still working on ways of handling the following types of sources. We would greatly welcome format suggestions for how to cite them in ways that stress digital open access versions.




Archive materials


We also invite readers’ suggestions of other kinds of citation sources that still need to be covered here.

Readers may also find it useful to look at this blogpost dealing with the many different roles that academic references play:

Patrick Dunleavy, (2017) ‘Why are citations important in research writing?’, Writing For Research blog, 18 March.

Written by

Writing creative non-fiction at a research level is hard, skilled work, across all disciplines. Here Prof Patrick Dunleavy (LSE) collates some helpful resources

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