Referencing is defined as the act of acknowledging the original source(s) of information while writing an academic piece.

Referencing is defined as the act of acknowledging the original source(s) of information while writing an academic piece. Acknowledging the original source of information could come in the form of citations. Citation is the brief summarization or quotation of a phrase or group of phrases from the original source of information.

It tells readers that the particular phrase was taken from a different scholar, and it also tells the readers who the scholar is. Printed books are not the only sources that require acknowledgement. Any words, ideas or information taken from any source requires a reference.

When to refer?

  1. Quoting other words
  2. Using other images and videos.
  3. Paraphrasing other words and ideas.

Importance of Referencing

  1. Avoidance of plagiarism.
  2. Tracing origin of ideas used in the piece of writing
  3. Providing evidence to back up claims or views in academic writing.
  4. Validation of arguments.
  5. Acknowledging others work.
  6. Keeping record of the sources of information used while conducting research.
  7. Aids in the creation of new ideas and insights regarding the researched topic.

Components of Referencing

Reference styles consist of 2 basic elements. These include:

  1. An in-text citation: A brief form of reference which can be included in the body of an academic piece.
  2. A reference list: Overall compilation of both the sources cited in the body of academic piece and the sources that were relied on for information during the course of academic research and writing. It is written at the end of assignment.  

Referencing Styles

These can be referred to as the rules or guidelines which tell the researcher how to give credit to the work of other people while writing an academic piece. OR A citation style dictates the information necessary for a citation and how the information is ordered, as well as punctuation and other formatting.

Typically, a citation can include the author’s name, date, location of the publishing company, journal title, or DOI. There are many different ways of citing resources from your research. The citation style sometimes depends on the academic discipline involved. Typically 3 basic approaches are used:


ApproachesCitation Styles
Parenthetical CitationsAPA







Numerical CitationsAMA





Note CitationsOSCOLA



  • Parenthetical Citations

Identifying information details of the source in parentheses in the text—usually the author’s last name and the publication date, plus a page number if relevant (author-date). Sometimes the publication date is omitted (author-page).

  • Numerical Citations

A number in brackets or in superscript, which corresponds to an entry in your numbered reference list.

  • Note Citations

A full citation in a footnote or endnote, which is indicated in the text with a superscript number or symbol.

Common Referencing Styles

  • Harvard Style
  • Reference List

Template: Last Name, First Initial. (Publication Year). Article title. Name of the Journal, Volume (Issue), Page(s).


Naseem, F. et al. (2022) ‘Metronidazole Based Floating Bioadhesive Drug Delivery System for Potential Eradication of H. pylori: Preparation and In Vitro Characterization’, Polymers. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 14(3), p. 519.

  • In-text

Template: (Author Surname, Publication Year) (Up to 3 authors) (Author Surname et al., Publication Year) (More than 3 authors) Examples:

(Verma, Ryan and Padrela, 2021) (Naseem et al., 2022)

  • Chicago Style

  • Reference List

Template: Last name, First initial Middle initial, and First name Last name. “Article”. Journal Name Volume, Issue (Publication Year): Page(s).


Garg, Ayush, and Amul Mishra. 2020. “An Overview on Bilayer Tablet Dosage Forms.”

International Journal of Research in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 5 (1): 5–12.

  • In-text

Template: (Author Last name Publication Year, Page #) (Up to 3 authors) (Author Last name et al. Publication Year, Page #) (More than 3 authors) Examples:

(Garg and Mishra 2020, 5)

(Naseem et al. 2022, 519)

  • MLA Style (Modern Language Association)

  • Reference List

Template: Last name, First name Middle name initial, and First name Middle initial. Last name. “Article”. Journal Name Volume, Issue (Publication Year): Page(s). Print


Kar, Nihar R. “Osmotically Controlled Drug Delivery Systems: A Review.” Indian Journal of Natural Sciences. 13.72, (2022): 43372–94. Print

  • In-text

Template: (Author Last name Page #) (Up to 3 authors) (Author Last name et al. Page #) (More than 3 authors) Example:

(Rehman et al. 1064)

  • IEEE Style (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

  • Reference List

Template: Author initial. Author Surname, ‘Title’, Journal Title, vol., no., pp. Pages Used, Year published.


  1. Hashmat, M. H. Shoaib, F. R. Ali, and F. Siddiqui, ‘Lornoxicam controlled release transdermal gel patch: Design, characterization and optimization using co-solvents as penetration enhancers’, PLoS One, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 1-23, 2020.
  • In-text

Template: [Reference Number]



  • APA Style (American Psychological Association)

  • Reference List

Template: Last name, First name initial. (Publication Year). Article title. Journal Title, volume(issue), pp.


Naseem, F., Shah, S. U., Rashid, S. A., Farid, A., Almehmadi, M., and Alghamdi, S. (2022). Metronidazole Based Floating Bioadhesive Drug Delivery System for Potential Eradication of

  1. pylori: Preparation and In Vitro Characterization. Polymers, 14(3), 519.
  • In-text

Template: (Author Surname, Publication year) (Up to 3 authors) (Author Surname et al., Publication year) (More than 3 authors) Examples:

(Garg & Mishra, 2020) (Naseem et al., 2022)

  • Vancouver Style

  • Reference List

Template: Surname First name initial Middle name initial, Title of article. Journal Title (abbreviated). Date of publication volume(issue): pp.


Verma V, Ryan KM, Padrela L. Production and isolation of pharmaceutical drug nanoparticles. Int J Pharm. 2021 Jun 15;603:120708.

  • In-text

Template: (Reference Number)



Impact Factor

The impact factor, as calculated by Clarivate Analytics, is a measure of the average number of times articles from a two-year time frame have been cited in a given year, according to citations captured in the Web of Science database. It is used to measure the importance or rank of a journal by calculating the times its articles are cited.

Impact factor was originally developed by Eugene Garfield, the founder of Institute of Scientific Information

Calculation of Impact Factor

The calculation is based on a two year period and involves dividing the number of times articles were cited by the number of articles that are citable.

The 2021 impact factor (released in 2022), for example, was calculated as follows:

A = the number of times articles which published in 2019–2020 were cited in indexed journals during 2021

B = the total number of research and review articles from the journal published in 2019–2020

2021 Impact Factor = A/B

Impact factors are calculated each year by Thomson Scientific for those journals that it indexes (it was 12,298 for 2017) and are published in Journal Citation Reports.

In most fields, the impact factor of 10 or greater is considered an excellent score while 3 is flagged as good and the average score is less than 1.

H. Index

The h-index, developed in 2005 by J.E. Hirsch, is one of the most widely used author-level- metrics that measures the impact of a particular scientist rather than a journal. “It is defined as the highest number of publications of a scientist that received h or more citations each.”

An h-index is a rough summary measure of a researcher’s productivity and impact. Productivity is quantified by the number of papers, and impact by the number of citations the researchers’ publications have received.

This is assessed by calculating the number of published articles of a researcher and the number of citations received. For example, a scholar with an h-index of 5 had published 5 papers, each of which has been cited by others at least 5 times.

In order to increase h-index, one must publish papers of high quality. The researcher should ensure that he/she has not published any article in fake/predatory journals.

The researcher should publish more and more original research articles. For instance, an h-index of 17 means that the scientist has published at least 17 papers that have each been cited at least 17 times. If the scientist’s 18th most cited publication was cited only 10 times, the h-index would remain at

  1. If the scientist’s 18th most cited publication was cited 18 or more times, the h-index would rise to 18.


The I10-index is the newest in the line of journal metrics and was introduced by Google Scholar in 2011. It is a simple and straightforward indexing measure found by tallying a journal’s total number of published papers with at least 10 citations.

I10-Index = the number of publications with at least 10 citations.

i10 index also helps in increasing the weightage of any student profile. The main advantage of the i10 index is that it can be calculated very easily.

Google scholar provides easy and free access to find out these metrics. An i-10 index of 25 means that, out of total publications, the researcher has received at least 10 citations for every 25 published articles.

The i-10 index differs from researcher to researcher. It mainly depends on the subject area and sub-section of the research area.

Barkat Ali Khan is an Associate Professor and Dean Faculty of Pharmacy, Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan  and Faiza Naseem is a Ph.D. SCHOLAR (PHARMACEUTICS) .