Here is a list of frequently asked questions and answers on the IEEE style. Our tips and advice in this FAQ is based on the IEEE Reference Guide, and what we regards as normal practice. This means that there might be different approaches at your institution, and that your tutor/supervisor might have other requirements for your paper or thesis.

No boxes match

Occasionally, your source doesn’t match any of the boxes in the Citation Compass. You can combine information from two boxes, or you can adjust information from one box to fit your source. The rules for printed and online sources are quite similar. If you have an online source, check if there is an example for a printed source that is close enough – and just add the URL.

Make sure that you are consistent in the choices you make, and that your in-text citations and reference list provide enough information to identify the source.

There are 4 kinds of information you need to write in a reference:

  • Who: Author, institution, association, department etc.
  • When: Year, or year and date
  • What: Title. If there is no title, insert a description in square brackets.
  • Where: Publisher, site name, department. If you have a DOI or URL, include this.

Still in doubt? Contact your campus library.


Direct quotations (40 words or less):

A direct quotation is placed in quotation marks, with the citation number [#] at the end. When citing a web page or other materials without page numbers, include paragraph numer, time stamp or similar in order to make it easier for the reader to find the original quotation. Place the citation number in front of the full stop at the end of the sentence.

Example: “quotation within quotation marks…” [1, p. 45].

Longer quotations (more than 40 words):

Longer quotations are often placed in a separate, indented paragraph. Place the citation number in front of the full stop at the end of the sentence.


The current situation is described by the World Health Organization:

In terms of global health security, trends in State Party self-assessment annual reporting tool (SPAR) show
stability and steady progress since 2018 in almost every core capacity except for a very small reduction observed
in 2020, compared to 2019, in the capacities related to zoonotic events and human–animal health interface
and chemical events. [3]

Furthermore, recent research confirms …

Source information is missing

If your source lacks information that is required (e.g. date, author, place), then the information is omitted in the reference.

When an organization or institution is responsible for the source content, you may consider naming the organization as author.


Many compendia are composed of articles and chapters that have been published in journals and books. In such cases, you should cite the original source, ie you need to find the reference to the article or book chapter where it was originally published.

If the compendium is written entirely by a teacher, use the book format and enter the information you have.

What is a DOI?

A DOI (digital object identifier) ​​is a unique identification code that is assigned to electronic documents so that they are easy to find on the internet. Unlike URLs that can be changed or deleted, the DOI number is a permanent identification code that is always associated with the document. You can usually find the DOI number on the front page of electronic articles, near the copyright statement, or on the database landing page for the article. Books, articles, and datasets can have a DOI.

Example of DOI-number: 10.1177/1090198109343895

To find an article using the DOI number, enter the following URL followed by the DOI number: [ ].

In the reference, include https:// in front of the DOI number.

Using illustrations, tables, or figures

Mentioning and quoting text and ideas from others requires only in-text citation and inclusion in the reference list. It is different if you re-use parts of works by inserting pictures, figures, tables and the like in the text. These are works that have their own copyright protections.

If you want to re-use images or other illustrations in the text, you must consider necessity, citation rights, copyright, and privacy.

  • Is it necessary? Does the illustration provide significant information to the text, or is it just for decoration? Images and illustrations should add something that the text cannot give the reader.
  • Fair use: The Copyright Act (åndsverkloven) (åvl) §29§29 and åvl §37§37
  • Privacy: Can the people in the photograph be identified?
  • Copyright: Who owns the image? Some images are open for everyone to use, but most are protected by copyright
  • To use an entire table, figure, or image from another source, you usually need to obtain permission from the author or rights holder. The author must in any case be cited, and the source referred to.

Publishers often take over the rights to published articles and books, in such cases one must go through a formal process with the publisher to obtain permission. Sometimes you have to pay to reuse tables, figures, or pictures.

  • Many publishers allow the re-use of tables, figures, and pictures for scientific commentary, non-commercial research or for educational purposes when full credit is given by the author and no more than three figures or tables from the same source are used.
  • You can re-use parts of a table without having to obtain permission, cf. åvl § 29, but the author must be cited and the source must be included.
  • If the creator has been dead for 70 years or more then the table, figure, or image can be used without permission, but you must still cite the author.
  • For further information, see the APA manual, chapter 12.14-12.18 (APA, 2020).

All images, figures, and tables you re-use in the text must have an explanatory copyright notice. For all photos, figures, and tables, except those you have taken or created yourself, you must credit the author and provide copyright information.

This applies regardless of the reference style you use, and is not specifically related to the IEEE style.

The copyright notice looks like this in the APA style:

From Title, by Artist, Year, Publisher (url). Copyright status


Adapted from Title, by Artist, Year, Publisher (url). Copyright status

In addition, these works must be included in the reference list.