Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Physics & Astronomy

General physics and astronomy subject guide.

How do I cite and why do I need to?

A citation...

  • describes a book, journal article, website, or other item;
  • gives credit to the originator of an idea, thus preventing plagiarism;
  • enables the reader to retrieve the item you refer to, and
  • includes the author, title, source (publisher and place of publication or URL), and date.

Failing to cite a source correctly is plagiarism. Plagiarism is an academic offense and could get you in serious trouble! But don't panic: as long as you follow the citation guidelines, you will be fine. And remember: when in doubt, cite. It is always better to include a citation that you don't need than to forget a citation that you do need.

Check out our Citing Sources Guide if you need more help!

AIP Style Manual

Citation Tools

Citation tools can-

  • Store and organize your sources
  • Save and share articles found and your notes with collaborators
  • Build citations to use in your final bibliography

Citation Styles