Author: Águeda Delgado-Ponce – Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

The elaboration of a solid theoretical base must pay attention fundamentally and carefully to the review of previous works; its reading, reflection and, as it cannot be otherwise, the recognition of its authorship.


Although there are areas or fields of study that are more individualistic and in which the works are usually carried out by a single author, in the social sciences and especially in the field of experimental sciences, medicine, etc. research is a shared task. The impact projects (I+D, excellence, European, International…) are carried out by teams of researchers, who at the time of publishing their results share authorship. In addition, although in some cases, according to the number, justification of the work of each author is requested, the scientific journals value that the article is signed by several authors from different universities, since the collaboration, the comparison of contexts, the diversity of approaches are an added value to the studies.

In these cases, the order of signature is an important aspect that reflects the contribution of each author to the research and, therefore, must be respected when the citation of the work is made. Along with this, if we follow the APA (American Psychological Association) Style Manual, when we cite the work of several authors, we will consider the following points:

Citations on the text

  • In the event that the authors appear as part of the narrative, they will be cited in the signature order, by last name, and will be used between the last two: and in Spanish, and in English. “Likewise, Gil-de-Zúñiga, Jung and Valenzuela (2012) find that Facebook and social networks are used by all university students …”
  • If neither authors nor dates are included in the narrative, the author and the year of publication are enclosed in parentheses, separated by a comma, using & between the last two and, in the case of more than two authors, with a comma before de &: “the general sample presents important characteristics of active participation among the enclosed subjects (González, Durand, Hugues, & Yanes, 2015)”
  • One aspect that must be taken into account is the number of authors of the work:
    • In works of two authors, the last names of both authors will always be cited.
    • From two to 5 authors, the first time they are cited in the text, the last names of all of them appear, however, in subsequent citations the et al format will be used after the first surname.
    • If the work has six or more authors, the et al format will always be used. “Participatory culture (Jenkins et al., 2009)”
    • However, if the abbreviated citation has a coincidence with another, the necessary last names will be used for establishing differences in both citations.
  • When two or more authors with the same last name appear, the initials of the first author must be included in all citations within the text, even if the year of publication differs. “Among the studies, we reviewed M.A. Light and Light (2008) and I. Light (2006) ”.

Final references

When a reference has up to seven authors, the names of all authors will be written in the list of references.

All references, including those of two authors, shall have a comma before ampersand (&): Pérez-Rodríguez, M.A., & Delgado-Ponce, Á. (2012). De la competencia digital y audiovisual a la competencia mediática: dimensiones e indicadores. Comunicar, 39, 25-34.

In spite of everything mentioned in relation to the citation of works by several authors, the specific regulations of the journal must always be kept in mind when publishing an article, since, although in social sciences they usually use APA, there may be aspects that differ from this.

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