Quick citations

If you’re writing a longer manuscript for a paper, thesis or grant application, you’re probably using a reference manager to nicely format your bibliography. But those usually only work if you’re writing in a word processing document. If you need to add a quick citation in a slide deck or a blog post, you can’t connect those materials to your favourite reference manager. Luckily, there are a few ways to get a quick citation into a website or presentation.


  • Use Google Scholar or ZoteroBib to quickly generate a citation that’s ready to copy and paste into your document. See the section below for more details.
  • Keep the DOI of the article in the citation. This “digital object identifier” will stay the same even if the journal website ever changes the url of their articles. (That can happen if they redo their website, or rename a journal, for example.) Most academic articles published online will have a DOI.
  • Link to the most accessible version of the paper if you’re linking to articles from a website or blog post. Sometimes that may mean adding an additional link to a preprint.

Creating simple one-off citations

If you’ve ever wanted to include a single one-off link to a paper on a website or a conference poster, you may have noticed that it’s not a simple case of copying the title and author names from the article. Instead of typing everything out, here are two quick and easy ways to get a citation format:

  • Google Scholar. Underneath any search result in Google Scholar, you can click on the quotation marks and bring up several citation formats ready to copy and paste.
  • ZoteroBib. Enter the url, DOI, PubMed or arXiv ID of the paper you want to cite, and choose one of the formats from the dropdown menu to get a citation in your favourite format. This also works for non-journal sources, such as websites.

Who uses this?

  • ShareYourSci uses ZoteroBib to generate the references underneath some of our articles, such as this coffee break article.
  • The University of Minnesota Libraries uploaded a YouTube tutorial explaining how to generate a citation using Google Scholar.
  • The above tutorial is recommended by Science Seeker, an aggregator of over two thousand science blogs.

Image credit: colour-altered image of an original by futureatlas.com [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons