This fall, the American Psychological Association (APA) issued the 7th edition of their publication manual. Since we keep up to date with the latest citation trends, we took the time to find the most important differences between APA 6th and APA 7th.
Overview of the major changes in APA 7th
- Book references now omit the publisher location.
- Journal articles should always include an issue number.
- Sources retrieved from databases are now referenced as print sources.
- You can add up to 20 authors in a reference list instead of only 7.
- Social media examples were added.
- Websites’ URLs omit the “Retrieved from” or "Accessed from" phrase.
Here is a video describing the general aspects of the APA manual 7th edition.
Finally, the APA referencing Gods have liberated us from the excruciating geographical details of a published book. The days of figuring out which city to include are over, as book and book chapter reference entries no longer require a publisher location.
For example, a book reference entry in APA 6 format:
1986). It. New York, NY: Viking Press.. (
To adapt the same reference in APA 7 format, only the location is excluded:
King, S. (1986). It. Viking Press.
According to APA 7, all journal articles should include an issue number. Before this edition, an issue number was only added if the journal paginated each issue starting with 1. Now, all issue numbers should be added, unless the journal or database does not assign them at all. In that case omit this element.
A journal article reference entry in APA 6 format:
Plessis, T. du. (2006). From Monolingual to Bilingual Higher Education: The Repositioning of Historically Afrikaans-Medium Universities in South Africa. Language Policy, 5, 87–113. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-005-5627-5
To adapt the same reference in APA 7 format, simply add the issue number in parentheses after the volume number:
Plessis, T. du. (2006). From Monolingual to Bilingual Higher Education: The Repositioning of Historically Afrikaans-Medium Universities in South Africa. Language Policy, 5(1), 87–113. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-005-5627-5
Source from a database
Exclusively books and journal articles retrieved from research databases without DOIs should be referenced as print sources. In the case a journal article was retrieved from either UpToDate, Cochrane or ERIC, then these should be referenced along with their retrieval date or identification number. More on this topic can be read in the Database Information in References.
Here's a journal article retrieved from a database without DOI in APA 6 style:
Gade, D. W. (2003). Language, Identity, and the Scriptorial Landscape in Québec and Catalonia. Geographical Review, 93(4), 429-448. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/
To adapt the same reference in APA 7 format, exclude the retrieval element:
Gade, D. W. (2003). Language, Identity, and the Scriptorial Landscape in Québec and Catalonia. Geographical Review, 93(4), 429-448.
The rise of academic co-authorship is reflected in the new APA format, as APA 6 allowed 7 author names in a reference entry, while APA 7 now allows up to 20 names. Sources with 21 authors or more should list the first 19 names and an ellipsis followed by the last author of the source.
Here is a source with 13 authors in APA 6:
Matsuda, W., Sonomura, T., Honma, S., Ohno, S., Goto, T., Hirai, S., … Ueda, S. (2018). Anatomical variations of the torcular Herophili: macroscopic study and clinical aspects. Anat. Sci. Int., 93, 464–468. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12565-018-0436-z
The APA 7 version includes all names and the issue number:
Matsuda, W., Sonomura, T., Honma, S., Ohno, S., Goto, T., Hirai, S., Itoh, M., Honda, Y., Fujieda, H., Udagawa, J., Takano, S., Fujiyama, F., Ueda, S. (2018). Anatomical variations of the torcular Herophili: macroscopic study and clinical aspects. Anat. Sci. Int., 93 (4), 464–468. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12565-018-0436-z
APA 7th includes new examples of social media sites, such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Reddit.
A Tweet is referenced in APA 7 format like this:
National Book Foundation [@nationalbook]. (2019, October 28). #NBAwards Finalists @sarahmbroom and Albert Woodfox will be at the @LABookFest this weekend! [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/nationalbook/status/1188898728742047744
The same format can be used to cite Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn posts.
On the other hand, a Twitter profile is referenced in APA 7 style like this:
National Book Foundation [@nationalbook]. (n.d.). Tweets [Twitter profile]. Twitter. Retrieved October 30, 2019, from https://twitter.com/nationalbook
The same format can be used for a Facebook page or Instagram highlight.
Finally, there are two updates in relation to URLs in APA 7th. The first one is omitting the wording "Retrieved from” or “Accessed from” before a URL. The second one is the shortening of URLs and DOIs. DOIs can be shortened with the shortDOI service provided by the International DOI Foundation and URLs with any independent shortening service.
You can learn more about the proper format and use of URLs and DOIs in this article.
For example, a blog post in APA 6 style:
Miller, S. (2018, December 11). Google’s Change the Game initiative is turning girls into game developers [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/google-play-change-the-game-girls-gaming/
To adapt the same reference in APA 7 format, exclude the "Retrieved from” phrase and shorten the URL (if too long):
Miller, S. (2018, December 11). Google’s Change the Game initiative is turning girls into game developers [Blog post]. https://bit.ly/34DzF0e
For many more reference examples of APA 6 and 7, take a look at our APA citation guide.
Frequently Asked Questions about APA 6th and APA 7th
🤷🏼♂️ What is the difference between APA 6 and 7?
- Book references now omit the publisher location
- Journal articles always include an issue number
- Database sources are now referenced as print sources
- Websites' URLs omit the phrase “Retrieved from”
- You can add up to 20 authors in a reference list instead of only 7
For more in depth details, take a look at the differences between APA 6th and APA 7th.
🌱 When will the new APA version be used?
According to APA, people will start using the 7th edition of their citation style in the spring semester of 2020. However, universities and other institutions that use APA style choose when to change from sixth to seventh edition style.
✍️ Which APA version is currently used?
Currently, the APA style version used the most is the 6th edition. However, the transition from 6th to 7th edition is in motion. If you are still using the sixth edition, and you want to transition to the 7th edition, we recommend taking a look at our APA style guide where you can find APA 6th and 7th reference examples side by side.
🕵🏻♀️ Where do I find the APA citation style manual?
You can purchase the official APA manual (7th ed.) through the APA official website. The manual is available in many formats, such as spiral-bound, paperback, hardcover or eBook.
🧪 Which citation style should you use for science papers?
APA (American Psychological Association) style is one of the most frequently used citation styles in science papers, along with Chicago and CSE styles. APA format is used primarily in the social sciences, just like for education and engineering. For more information on this topic take a look at this list of citation styles to use for science.