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How To Write Journals In Bibliography Do Numbers

Several online-only journals publish articles that have article numbers rather than unique page ranges. That is, instead of the first article in the issue starting on page 1, the second on page 20, the third on page 47, and so on, every article starts on page 1. Why choose this approach? Because the online-only publisher does not have to worry about creating a print issue (where a continuous page range would assist the reader in locating a piece), this numbering system simplifies the publication process. So to still demarcate the order in which the articles in a volume or issue were published, the publisher assigns these works article numbers.

Many of our readers wonder what to do when citing these references in APA Style. No special treatment is required—simply include the page range as it is reported for the article in your APA Style reference. The page range may be listed on the DOI landing page for the article and/or on the PDF version of the article. Here is an example of an article with a page range, from the journal PLoS ONE:

Simon, S. L., Field, J., Miller, L. E., DiFrancesco, M., & Beebe, D. W. (2015). Sweet/dessert foods are more appealing to adolescents after sleep restriction. PLoS ONE, 10, 1–8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0115434

If the article is published in a format without page numbers entirely, just leave off this part of the reference (i.e., end the reference with the volume/issue information for the article). Here is an example article without any page numbers, from the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Cheryan, S., Master, A., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2015). Cultural stereotypes as gatekeepers: Increasing girls’ interest in computer science and engineering by diversifying stereotypes. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00049

In-Text Citations of Direct Quotations

In the text, citations of direct quotations should refer to the page number as shown on the article, if it has been assigned. If the article has not been assigned page numbers, you have three options to provide the reader with an alternate method of locating the quotation:

  • a paragraph number, if provided; alternatively, you can count paragraphs down from the beginning of the document;

  • an overarching heading plus a paragraph number within that section; or

  • an abbreviated heading (or the first few words of the heading) in quotation marks, in cases in which the heading is too unwieldy to cite in full, plus a paragraph number within that section.

Here is an example direct quotation from an article without page numbers that uses the abbreviated heading plus paragraph number method:

You can read more about including page numbers in in-text citations here. Also see section 6.05 of the Publication Manual.

Do you have additional questions about citing articles with article numbers? Please leave us a comment. 

A journal is a periodical published by a special group or professional organization, often focused around a particular area of study or interest. Journals can be scholarly in nature (featuring peer-reviewed articles), or popular (such as trade publications). Journal articles are generally written by professionals and experts, thus making the content of journals excellent for research purposes.

There are numerous sites that provide access to journal articles. These sites are called databases. Databases collect information, in this case journal articles, and make them easily accessible to researchers. While some databases are free to access, the majority of high quality journal databases require a subscription. Many school and public libraries provide access to journal databases. Ask your librarian for help! Some of the more common databases include ProQuest, JSTOR, Google Scholar, Gale databases, and EBSCO databases.

To cite a journal article in an online database in MLA 8, locate the following pieces of information:

*The name of the author of the article
The title of the journal
The names of any other contributors to the article (if applicable)
The version of the journal (if applicable)
*Any numbers associated with the journal, such as a volume or issue number.
The publication date
The location, such as a page number
The name of the database the article was found on
*The URL or DOI where the article can be found

If the article is written by more than one author, refer to EasyBib’s page on How to Format the Author’s Name in MLA 8 to learn how to display more than one author in a citation.

Many journals include a volume and issue number. The volume number usually refers to the number of years that the publication has been circulating. The issue number is the number of issues that have been circulated in a specific year. For example, the first issue of a journal for the year 2016 that was first circulated in 1996 would be volume 20, issue 1. In a journal’s citation, this information is displayed as vol. 20, no. 1.

When including the URL in the citation, omit “http://” and “https://” from the site’s address. In addition, if the citation will be viewed on a digital device, it is helpful to make it clickable. This ensures that readers will be able to easily access and view the source themselves.

*In addition, publisher’s names can be omitted for periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers).

Structure of a citation for a journal article from a database in MLA 8:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of the article.” Title of the journal, First name Last name of any other contributors (if applicable), Version (if applicable), Numbers (such as a volume and issue number), Publication date, Page numbers. Title of the database, URL or DOI.

Example of a citation for a journal article found on a database in MLA 8:

Brian, Real, et al. “Rural Public Libraries and Digital Inclusion: Issues and Challenges.” Information and Technology Libraries, vol. 33, no. 1, Mar. 2014, pp. 6-24. ProQuest,

Asafu-Adjaye, Prince. “Private Returns on Education in Ghana: Estimating the Effects of Education on Employability in Ghana.” African Sociological Review, vol. 16, no. 1, 2012, pp. 120-138. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24487691.

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