OJS Citation Style Language Plugin (Vancouver and Turabian)

Hello PKP community

We realized that Citation Style Language Plugin for OJS do not format the citation with DOI but with URL in the styles Vancouver and Turabian.

We are wondering if for the next release of OJS you could include this little change. What we expect is that if an article has a DOI display it, if not display the URL. Is it possible? The issue happens only with these two styles, because others (i.e. APA and Chicago) works fine.



Just want to vote for a fix. Same issue here (e.g.: Memory, Neuroscience and Memory Enhancement | Canadian Journal of Bioethics / Revue canadienne de bioéthique) using OJS 3.1.2-4.

Hi @Marie-Helene, the citation styles are coordinated, developed and updated by a third-party organisation (I think it’s mostly the Zotero folks). That means we rely on the standardized styles adopted by Zotero and other organisations, but it also means that we direct requests for changes in how they work there.

It looks like the Turabian style has received one change since we last updated it (three years ago), but it doesn’t look like it is related to DOIs. The Vancouver style has not been updated in the last three years.

The best thing to do first would be to open an issue on the styles repository to discuss whether this is a bug with the style definition or whether it’s considered the way the style is supposed to work.

Thank you @NateWr for your answer. The documentation cited in the .csl file of the styles repository (styles/turabian-fullnote-bibliography.csl at d0cc2c434e52b9af459625e7afd06c0bf00ef6e7 · citation-style-language/styles · GitHub) seems to recommend the use of DOI but doesn’t forbid URL if I understand correctly the manual (Turabian Citation Quick Guide Notes and Bibliography Samples) . (e.g. for Articles):

For articles consulted online, include a URL or the name of the database. Many journal articles list a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). A DOI forms a permanent URL that begins https://doi.org/. This URL is preferable to the URL that appears in your browser’s address bar.

That being said, we use DOI URLs for both the remote galley (e.g.: Memory, Neuroscience and Memory Enhancement | Canadian Journal of Bioethics / Revue canadienne de bioéthique) :


and the DOI reference itself for the article:


I would have expected the citation to pick up at least the remote galley URL (which is, in my case example, indeed the DOI) if the DOI (from the metadata) itself isn’t specifically used by the citation style format.
In your opinion, is this expectation reasonable? And if so, isn’t it more a matter of which metadata is provided by OJS for building the citation ? Thank you.


HI @Marie-Helene,

If a DOI exists for an article, we do pass that to the citation style format. But the style format decides whether or not to use it. That’s why you see it with some styles but not others. It could be that the citation style format is incomplete. If that’s the case, the best thing to do is to raise an issue on that GitHub repository identifying the absence. In general, I’ve found the maintainers to be responsive when a style is indeed incomplete.

I would have expected the citation to pick up at least the remote galley URL

For the citation format, we pick up only the DOI assigned to the article, not any DOI assigned to a galley. From our perspective, the “How to Cite” block is showing how to cite the article landing page, not any particular galley. If you’re working with a galley that is substantially different in form, with unique details that need to be included in the reference, it may be worth including a suggested citation within that galley itself.

Thank you @NateWr for the explanations. Yes, you are right about galleys (remote or local); as we only deal with PDF, I didn’t think about multiples galleys formats, hence better point to the landing page. I will try to see if the Vancouver citation style could, by definition, pick up the DOI instead of the URL landing page when one exists. Not a citation style expert so will ask a few colleagues first and see if that results in suggesting something to the Github group as you advised.

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Hi @NateWr,

Finally after consulting the various *vancouver.csl (and vancouver*.csl) files in the GitHub - citation-style-language/styles: Official repository for Citation Style Language (CSL) citation styles. repository (certain of which do include provisions for DOI, mostly depending on the document type) and also by asking a few of my librarian colleagues, I decided not to suggest any changes to the user community for the vancouver.csl file since I wouldn’t be very good at making enlightened arguments…The file is rather old and I am unsure of which other changes are related to DOI vs URL (access date, etc.)…

[FYI @asoto] So what I did instead is simply, for my local instances, replacing the vancouver.csl file by the styles/elsevier-vancouver.csl at master · citation-style-language/styles · GitHub file (which seems more up-to-date and doing ok for our needs (e.g. The Ethics of Screening and Treating Persons with Hepatitis C: A Canadian Perspective | Canadian Journal of Bioethics / Revue canadienne de bioéthique); not sure it’s relevant in all contexts (?)). I simply renamed the file elsevier-vancouver.csl to vancouver.csl (a better approach would probably be to add the custom style as discussed here : [OJS 3.1] How to add a custom Citation Format (CSL)? - #7 by litvinovg).

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Thank you, @Marie-Helene, for doing the hard work here! I’ve made sure that we capture what you’ve discovered in a GitHub issue so that we can build on it over time, and maybe reach a consensus about which version to use ourselves.