September 21, 2017

Edifix and APA Style: Some Key Differences in Reference Style between APA’s 5th and 6th Editions (and How Edifix Can Help)

The 5th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association appeared in 2001, and the 6th edition in 2010. While most APA-style publications now rely on the 6th edition, the 5th edition still has its adherents, particularly with respect to documentation style—our focus in this post.

For this reason, Edifix offers both APA 5th and APA 6th editorial styles, and we’ll discuss below how it can be helpful in each case.

Multiple Author Names

APA 5th ed., like previous editions, lists all authors when there are up to 6 and uses “et al.” after author #6 when there are 7 or more.

APA 6th ed., recognizing that in some disciplines the last author may be the main and/or corresponding author, lists all authors when there are up to 6 and uses a modified ellipsis between author #6 and the last author, rather than using “et al.,” when there are 7 or more.

No. of authors APA 5 APA 6
<6 Dunford, R., Izzo Hunter, S., & Rosenblum, B. Dunford, R., Izzo Hunter, S., & Rosenblum, B.
6 Gebhard, C., Blake, E., Dunford, R., Golfman, I., Rosenblum, B., & Dames, J. Gebhard, C., Blake, E., Dunford, R., Golfman, I., Rosenblum, B., & Dames, J.
≥7 Blake, E., Rosenblum, B., Dunford, R., Izzo Hunter, S.,Gebhard, C., Dames, J., et al. Blake, E., Rosenblum, B., Dunford, R., Izzo Hunter, S.,Gebhard, C., Dames, J., . . . Seifert, J.


  • Edifix helps editors enforce these rules not only by correctly formatting author lists and correctly truncating author lists in APA5, but also by finding and inserting the final author name from PubMed and/or Crossref in APA6. You can save a lot of editing time by not having to do these searches by hand!

Citing Online Sources

APA 5th ed., like previous editions, requires a retrieval date and a URL in any reference to a source accessed online. For references to online journals, the name of the database where you accessed the journal (e.g., PsycInfo, JSTOR, Project MUSE) is required.

APA 6th ed. makes several changes to how online sources are cited in the References:

  • Wherever possible, a DOI link rather than a URL should be provided, as a DOI link provides continuity of access even if the URL changes.
  • A retrieval date is not required unless you are citing a source that is likely to be changed or updated frequently.
  • No database name is required when citing an online journal. If no DOI is available for the article you are citing, provide the journal’s home URL instead.
  • Chapter 6, “Crediting Sources,” and Chapter 7, “Reference Examples,” include recommendations for citing the online/digital version of each type of source listed.
  • Chapter 6, “Crediting Sources,” also includes guidance on quoting from various types of electronic sources that do not use traditional page numbering.

A Note on DOIs

APA Style’s guidance on DOI link display was updated in March 2017, in line with the current Crossref DOI Display Guidelines.

While APA 6th ed. recommends displaying DOI links in the following format:

DOI:10.2307/3549761

current best practice is to display DOI links in URL format:

https://doi.org/10.2307/3549761

Bonus Tip: Place of Publication

APA 5th ed., like previous editions, recommends using the city name only when the city is well known for publishing (e.g., New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco).

APA 6th ed., recognizing that the above standard is somewhat arbitrary and may not be useful to authors and editors outside the United States, gives the following recommendations (§6.30):

  • For locations in the United States, give city and state, using standard postal abbreviations for states, except
    • when the publisher is a university or university press whose name includes the name of the state or province (e.g., Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, but New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press).
  • For locations outside the United States, give city and country, except
    • when publishing outside the United States or publishing for an international readership, in which case you should consult specific guidelines from your publisher or institution when deciding how much location information to include and whether and how to abbreviate names of states, territories, provinces, and/or countries.

Further Information

Wondering whether Edifix supports the specific style you need?
Check out the Edifix FAQ!

Link: http://www.edifix.com/blog/blog/Edifix-And-APA-Style.html