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Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science

Print version ISSN 0864-0408On-line version ISSN 2079-3480

Cuban J. Agric. Sci. vol.50 no.3 Mayabeque Jul.-Sept. 2016


Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science, 50(3): 333-341, 2016, ISSN: 2079-3480




New bibliographic style for the Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science based on Harvard referencing


Nuevo estilo bibliográfico para la Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science basado en la norma Harvard



R. Cervantes,I Sandra Lok ,II

IReference Editor, Universidad Agraria de La Habana, Mayabeque, Cuba.
IIEditorial Director, Instituto de Ciencia Animal, Mayabeque, Cuba.




As part of the updates made by the Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science for a more efficient management of its publications, it was decided by the Editorial Board to update the bibliographic style (how to place quotations in the text and the corresponding bibliographical references) , according to the style guidelines of Harvard referencing . The main intention of the changes is to increase the veracity of the information that is published and to guarantee the traceability of the used documents.

In the References section it is very common that the metadata of the used documents are incomplete and with the homogeneity established by the bibliographic style of the journal. In the refereeing process there are several errors due to the omission of mandatory filling elements, including publication date, responsible publishers and institutions, standard identifiers (ISSN, ISBN, DOI), publication places, pages and e-mail addresses. In addition, the authors names are placed incorrectly and grammatical errors are presented in the writing of titles.

To solve these problems, the Bibliographic Style Corrector was incorporated in the publishing process, and the bibliographic style of the journal was updated, due to the following characteristics:

- It is cited in the text according to the author-year form.

- Alphabetize the bibliography, starting with the first letters of the main author last name.

- In the bibliographical references, the authors are presented in abbreviated form.

-  The publication year is placed after the last author

- The titles of the main papers are written in italics and those of the contributions or derivative papers, in quotation marks.

- The elements of the bibliography are separated by commas and period is only placed after the authors, date and title.

- The publisher is placed after the publication place, and both are separated by colon.  

In order to homogenize and facilitate the production of citations in the text and bibliographical references, a CSL (Citation Style Language) format program was designed, which will allow automatic management of the bibliography from the original marking performed by the information generating sites, such as databases and the Open Journal System (OJS) of journals. This program is multiplatform, as it works with various operating systems and has UTF-8 character encoding, so it can be used by any type of text processor. Its XML programming language enables interoperability among 38 open source bibliographic managers, including: Zotero, Papers, Mendeley ( 2016).

Bibliographic requirements

For the preparation of the different types of documents, published and edited works must be used: scientific journals articles, books, book chapters, papers presented at scientific events (congresses, symposiums, seminars, workshops) which have ISBN or URL, patents and standards. Legislation, reports of internationally recognized institutions (FAO, UNESCO and others) can also be used, with their corresponding standard identifier (ISBN, ISSN, DOI), maps and satellite images, software and theses.

Regardless of this range of possibilities, articles published in scientific journals should be used to a greater extent for the preparation of any type of document, since they constitute the central unit of science to transmit its results.

Any other type of reference will not be allowed, except some digital statistical sites like the FAO Statistical Yearbook (FAOSTAT) and the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI), among others.

Each paper must have a high percentage of topicality, with references published during the last five years, according to Price (1965). The bibliographic revisions that covers a wide range of time are excepted, which is due to the nature of this type of study. Self-citations of the author, such as those of the journal, should not exceed 20% of the consulted literature. In this regard, Testa (2016) states that 85% of the list of JCR Science Edition journals have citation index lower than 15%.

Style characteristics

Citations in the text. In the text it is cited according to the author-year form (eg Cervantes 2016), without placing a comma between the author’s last name and the publication year. If the cite is made up of two authors, the signature last name of each are placed, separated by the conjunction and followed by the year (Cervantes and Alfonso 2016). In the cases in which the cite is formed by more than two authors, "et al." should be placed in italics after the last name of the main author followed by the year (Cervantes et al. 2016). If in the body of the text there is a same author with more than one publication in the same year, it is necessary to differentiate the works by the letters a and b, behind the years. The same procedure is performed in the respective references. In cases where a cooperative author is cited, the full name of the institution should be placed, unless they are recognized institutions in the thematic area (FAO, AOAC, among others).

If the cite is made up of multiple sources, that is, for more than one work, the comma should be used to separate each one (Cervantes 2014, Alfonso 2015, Alonso 2016). The citations which have the same authors but in different publication years, are refer with the main author last name according to the forms mentioned above, followed by the years separated by commas "," (eg Cervantes 2015, 2016). If in addition to the authors' names, the year of publication coincides, but the works are different, the cite is placed in the way described above, but behind each year letters as "a" and "b" are added (eg, Cervantes 2016a, b). In this case, the years of publication in the references should also be accompanied by these letters to differentiate the works.

Bibliographic references

In the bibliographical references three groups of settlement are distinguished. The first one consists of complete non-serial works (books, standards and patents, software, reports, theses, maps, legislations and websites), which are characterized by presenting a single title in their metadata. The second one composed of contributions and works contained in complete non-serial publications from the first group (sections or chapters of a book, papers presented at congresses, symposia, seminars, workshops and events) and encyclopedias and dictionaries. The third, consisting of contributions in serial works (articles in scientific journals and in news magazines and newspaper articles. The latter two, should not be used in this type of scientific publication because the information they issue is manipulated, which makes their truthfulness is doubtful.

First group of documents

In general, the bibliographic references belonging to the documents from the first group have the following main features:

- Authors: The names of the authors are presented in the short form, placing the last name of the signature and the initials of the second last name and the name (s) delimited by periods. To separate the authors, when they are more than three, and to delimit the main last name of the initials, the comma is used. Always before the last author the symbol "&" is placed.

 - Date: Only the publication year is separated by a period after the last initial of the last author, and another when his last digit ends.

- Title: It is written in italics, always respecting the original grammar and delimiting the next element with a period.

- Place of publication and publisher or responsible institution: Both elements are of mandatory filling and are separated by colon. The publication place is filled in ascending way, placing the city and then the country, both elements are separated by commas. The publisher or issuing institution is placed next to the colon and does not have any miscellaneous.

- Pages: What is written is the total of pages that the work presents followed by p. It is a very frequent mistake to put the page or the range of pages where the used information is located. This should not be done because then only one section of the work is being referenced; and therefore, what is to be cited is that section and not the complete work.

- Standardized numbering: The standard identifier assigned to this publication group is the ISBN (International Standard Book Number), and as the name implies it is assigned to books, software, reports, and maps. It is a mandatory fill element in those references that have it, because it allows retrieving in a simple way all the metadata of the reference. To patents, reports and legislation are assigned a specific numbering, which is not precisely the ISBN, but must also refer to.

- Emails: These emails indicate the position on the web of the document that is cited and must be with the consultation date. Whenever the used documents have it, they must be placed in order to verify the information. It is a frequent practice not to place the complete address because it becomes very long, which is considered an error because in that case the document cannot be reached.


Last name, N.Year. Title. Last name, N. (tran.), Last name, N. (ed.), (ser. Series, no. ser. #), #th ed., vol. #, vols. #,Place: Publisher, # p., ISBN: #, Available: <Direction>, [Consulted: month day, year].


Bonilla, M. I. & Gárate, O. A. 2008. Fundamentos de fisiología vegetal. Azcón, B. J. & Talón, C. M. (eds.), 2nd ed., España: McGraw-Hill Interamericana de España, 280 p., ISBN: 978-84-481-5168-3, Available: <>, [Consulted: March 21, 2016].

When the book does not have authors, only editor or other editors, it is placed as follows:

Last name, N. (ed.).Year. Title. Last name, N. (tran.), (ser. Series, no. ser. #), #th ed., vol. #, vols. #,Place: Publisher, # p., ISBN: #, Available: <Direction>, [Consulted: month day, year].


Hamel, C. & Plenchette, C. (eds.). 2007. Mycorrhizae in crop production. Binghamton, N. Y.: Harworth Food & Agricultural Products Press, 319 p., ISBN: 978-1-56022-307-8, Available: <>, [Consulted: June 12, 2016].

Standards and Patents

Last names, N.Year. Title. no. #, call no. #, Inst. Entity, Place, # p., Available: <Direction>, [Consulted: month day, year].


Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. 2002. Especificaciones de fertilidad, salinidad y clasificación de suelos. Estudios, muestreo y análisis. no. NOM-021-SEMARNAT-2000, Inst. Diario Oficial de la Federación, México, 85p., Segunda Sección, Available: <>, [Consulted: March 12, 2013].


Last name, N.Year. Name of program. version #, [OS], Programming language , Place, Available: <Direction>, [Consulted: month day, year].


Cervantes, B. R., Ponce de León, D., Balmaseda, C. E., Fernández, D. V., Castro, I. L., Fernández, D. V. & Ocampo, A. R. 2014. Revista Ciencias Técnicas Agropecuarias (Spanish). version 1, [Multiplataforma], Citation Style Language 1.0 xml-based, Mayabeque, Cuba, Style basedon ISO 690:2010(F), Available: <>.


Last name, N.Year. Title. (ser. Title of the  series), Type of report, no. #,Place: Institution, # p., ISBN: #, Available: <Direction>, [Consulted: month day, year].


Uribe, F., Zuluaga, A. F., Valencia, L., Murgueitio, E., Zapata, A., Solarte, L. & Soto, R. B. 2011. Establecimiento y manejo de sistemas silvopastoriles. Proyecto ganadería colombiana sostenible, Bogotá, Colombia: GEF, Banco Mundial, FEDEGAN, CIPAV, Fondo Accion, TN, 78 p., ISBN: 978-958-8498-35-5, Available: <>, [Consulted: February 12, 2016].


Last name, N.Year. Title. Type of thesis, University, Place, # p., Available: <Direction>, [Consulted: month day, year].

Example of PhD Thesis:

Jiménez, M. 2000. Evaluación de complejos enzimáticos en alimentación de pollos de engorde. Ph.D. Thesis, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, España, 170 p., Available: <>, [Consulted: February 26, 2016].

Example of Master Thesis:

García, M. A. 2006. Determinación y caracterización de fructanos provenientes de Henequén (Agave fourcroydes Lem.). M.Sc. Thesis, Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, México, 100 p., Available: <>, [Consulted: March 2, 2016].

Example of  Gradueted Thesis:

Pinos, S. A., Ortiz, M. & Brito, G. 2012. Uso de Grasa By Pass en Ganado Lechero. Graduated Thesis, Escuela Superior Politécnica de Chimborazo, Riobamba, Ecuador, 35 p., Available: <>, [Consulted: February 26, 2016].


Last name, N.Year. Title. (ser. Title of the series), [Scale], #th ed., Type, place:Publisher, ISBN: #, Available: <Direction>, [Consulted: month day, year].


López, L. J. A., Vicente, B. J. M., Blasco, F., Mallén, D. & Saz, D. 2012. GR 11 Senda Pirenaica de mar a mar. (ser. Senderos de Gran Recorrido), [1:40 000], 7th ed., 46 Mapas de 31,5 x 25 cm, Zaragoza: Prames S. A., ISBN: 978-84-8321-839-6, Available: <>, [Consulted: June 13, 2016].


Last name, N.Year. Title. Type of Websites, Available: <Direction>, [Consulted: month day, year].


Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas e Información (ONEI). 2014. Territorio; Agricultura, Ganadería, Silvicultura y Pesca. Anuario Estadístico de Cuba 2013, Available: <>, [Consulted: April 29, 2016].

Second group of documents

The second group consists on contributions and works contained in complete non-serial publications from the first group (sections or chapters of a book, articles in conference) and entries of encyclopedias and dictionaries. For this reason, many of its metadata, such as publication place and publisher, standardized numbering and emails, have the same characteristics as the documents presented in the previous group. However, the treatment of authors, titles and pages changes, and its main characteristics are:

- Authors: The treatment of the names and last names is the same as the one of the previous group, the difference is that they will coexist in the same reference two types of responsibility. The first authors will be responsible for the section or chapter that is being referenced and are placed before the year, and the second ones are responsible of the complete work and are placed after the fraction In, and before the title of the main work. Those who perform this secondary function can be the authors of the book, editors, compilers and translators.

- Titles: This group of documents is distinguished from the rest by presenting two titles. The first is placed in quotation marks and in Roman type, and represents the title of the chapter or section being referenced. The second title belongs to the main work contained in this section. Therefore, it is in italics in the same way as was explained in the previous group.

- Pages: As you are referencing part of a work, you have to put the range of pages in which it is, preceded by "pp.". If it is only one page, place "p." before the number. 

Section of a book

Last name, N.Year. “Title of the section”. In: Last name, N., Last name, N. (ed.), Title of the book, (ser. Series, no. ser. #), #th ed., vol. #, vols. #,Place:Publisher, pp. Range of pages, ISBN: #, Available: <Direction>, [Consulted: month day, year].


Rivera, R., Fernández, F., Fernández, K., Ruiz, L., Sánchez, C. & Riera, M. 2006. “Advances in the management of effective arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in tropical ecosystems”. In: Hamel, C. & Plenchette, C. (eds.), Mycorrhizae in Crop Production, Binghamton, N. Y.: Haworth Food & Agricultural Products Press, pp. 151–196, ISBN: 978-1-56022-307-8, Available: <>, [Consulted: June 12, 2016].

Articles in Conference (Congresses, Symposium, Seminars, Workshops and Events)

Last name, N. 2014. “Title”. In: Last name, N. (tran.), Last name, N. (ed.), Title of the  congresse, Name of the  workshop, 2 February, (ser. Series), vol. 2,Place:Publisher, pp. 1–5, ISBN: 92-5-102263-1, DOI: doi.15/123/456, Available: <Direction>, [Consulted: December 12, 2012].


Fita, A., Postma, J., Picó, B., Nuez, F. & Lynch, J. 2008. “Root architecture variation in Cucurbita”. In: Pitrat, M. (ed.), IX EUCARPIA meeting on genetics and breeding of Cucurbitaceae, Montfavet, France: INRA-Centre de Recherched’Avignon-UnitéGénétiqueetAmélioration des Fruits et Légumes, pp. 487–491, ISBN: 978-2-7380-1251-7, Available: <>, [Consulted: January 6, 2016].

Third group of documents

As explained above, the third group consists on contributions in serial works, such as articles in scientific journals, articles in informative journals and articles in newspaper, although the latter two cases, as mentioned above, cannot be used in this type of scientific publication because the information they issue is manipulated; and therefore, its truthfulness is doubtful. Its main characteristics are:

- Authors and Year: The authors and the publication year receive the same treatment as those of the first group.

- Titles: This type of document has two titles. The first is the title of the specific document that was used to extract the information and it is in quotation marks and in Roman type. The second is the title of the serial publication, that is, the name of the journal, which is in italics.

- Volume and Fascicle: In this case, because it is a serial publication, its content is grouped in volumes that, almost always, have annual regularity, among which are several numbers. Therefore, when referring to this type of publication, it is important to provide the volume number and the fascicle number to go directly to the place of the series where the used document is.

- Pages: Once the place of the series where the document is located, it is necessary to possess the range of pages in which it is inserted. For this reason, in this type of publication, the number of pages in which the document is preceded by a colon (:) must be placed next to the fascicle number. 

- Standardized numbering: Articles in scientific journals have two standardized identifiers, ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) and DOI (Digital Object Identifier). The first one is of mandatory filled and is unique for each type of serial publication. A serial publication may have more than one ISSN, depending on the format in which it is issued. For example, an ISSN may exist for the paper version, and another for the electronics. The second is a digital identifier that makes it possible to locate the document directly on the Web, and recover all the metadata of the used reference. Not all documents published in scientific journals have DOI because that element must be paid, but whenever it is used a document that has been assigned a DOI, it is mandatory to place it.  

- Emails: The same treatment described for group one documents is followed. When the referenced article have a DOI, it is not necessary to place the email.

Articles in Scientific Journals

Last name , N.Year. “Title”. Name of the journal, Volume(Fascicle): Range of pages, ISSN: #, DOI: #.


Li, Y. L., McAllister, T. A., Beauchemin, K. A., He, M. L., McKinnon, J. J. & Yang, W. Z. 2011. “Substitution of wheat dried distillers grains with solubles for barley grain or barley silage in feedlot cattle diets: Intake, digestibility, and ruminal fermentation”. Journal of Animal Science, 89(8): 2491–2501, ISSN: 1525-3163, DOI: 10.2527/jas.2010-3418.

Finally, in order to facilitate the identification of a group of elements in the bibliographic references, as well as for the identification of the different authoring functions, the miscellaneous showed in table 1 should be used.



REFERENCES 2016. The Citation Style Language - open and free citation styles. Citation Style Language (CSL), Available: <>, [Consulted: June 14, 2016].

Price, D. J. de S. 1965. “Networks of Scientific Papers”. Science, 149(3683): 510–515, ISSN: 0036-8075, 1095-9203, DOI: 10.1126/science.149.3683.510.

Testa, J. 2016. El proceso de selección de revistas en Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters, Available: <>, [Consulted: June 14, 2016].



Rafael Cervantes Beyra , Universidad Agraria de La Habana. Email:

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