Citation and Reference Guide: generative AI (e.g. ChatGPT)
This resource outlines how to cite and reference content derived from generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google Bard AI, Microsoft Bing Chat AI, Jasper.ai, Copilot, etc. Depending upon the style you use in your course, you may want to reference the specific information below in your syllabus, or link directly to this page.
Memorial University Libraries provide great service to faculty and students to help maintain academic integrity. Instructors are encouraged to reach out to them directly for specific help.
- Until official guidelines are available, style guides may only offer temporary guidance in citing AI-generated information.
- We recommend checking with the official style guide websites for the latest updates.
- The university library maintains a list of referencing styles. They have recently added instructions on how to reference and cite AI-related content.
- Furthermore, different publishers are taking different approaches related to the use of generative AI.
- If you are writing for publication, check the publisher’s information for authors.
- For course assessments that require citation and referencing, speak or communicate your requirements to students in the course, syllabus, or assignment instructions. For example, let them know if they may consult AI-generating sources for content, how they may use this content, and how to cite it appropriately. Remind students that work should adhere to academic integrity; they need to cite all ideas, words, work, content, and sources that are not their own. They should think critically about the suitability and reliability of sources used in assignments.
Citation and Referencing Recommendations
The most widely-used citation and referencing styles are noted below, including: APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, and AAA. No other citation and referencing style guides have identified specific approaches to citing generative AI. Please consult their websites for updates.
To learn more, read the APA blog post, How to Cite ChatGPT by McAdoo (2023, April 7).
Reference List Entry
Author. (Date). Title (include version) [descriptor]. Source
OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/chat
(Author/Creator of AI model, Year of version used)
APA Citation Considerations
- If you’ve used ChatGPT or other AI tools in your research, describe how you used the tool in your Method section or in a comparable section of your paper.
- For literature reviews or other types of essays or response or reaction papers, you might describe how you used the tool in your introduction.
- In your text, provide the prompt you used and then any portion of the relevant text that was generated in response (McAdoo, 2023).
(Modern Languages Association of America, 2023)
Reference List Entry
For MLA formatting, the following is the typical template used:
(Author, title or source, title of container, version, publisher, date, location)
We do not recommend treating the AI tool as an author. This recommendation follows the policies developed by various publishers, including the MLA’s journal PMLA.
Title of Source
Describe what was generated by the AI tool. This may involve including information about the prompt in the Title of Source element if you have not done so in the text.
Title of Container
Use the Title of Container element to name the AI tool (e.g., ChatGPT).
Name the version of the AI tool as specifically as possible. For example, the examples in this post were developed using ChatGPT 3.5, which assigns a specific date to the version, so the Version element shows this version date.
Name the company that made the tool.
Give the date the content was generated.
Give the general URL for the tool.
“Describe the symbolism of the green light in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald” prompt. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 8 Mar. 2023, chat.openai.com/chat.
(“word word word”)
Use the first three words in quotation marks of the prompt entered in the generative AI application.
Based on the prompt, “Describe the symbolism of the green light in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald”, you would use the following:
(“Describe the symbolism”)
MLA Citation Considerations
- Cite a generative AI tool whenever you paraphrase, quote, or incorporate into your own work any content (whether text, image, data, or other) that was created by it
- Acknowledge all functional uses of the tool (like editing your prose or translating words) in a note, your text, or another suitable location
- Take care to vet the secondary sources it cites (Modern Languages Association of America, 2023)
(The University of Queensland, 2023)
Reference List Entry
Template for publicly available sources
(Creator (Year) Title of work [Medium]. Available at: URL (Accessed: date).)
Shutterstock AI (2023) A Baby Fennec Sneezing Onto A Strawberry [Digital art]. Available at: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-generated/baby-fennec-sneezingonto- strawberry-detailed-2237162593 (Accessed: 3 April 2023).
(Shutterstock AI, 2023)
Harvard Citation Considerations
- When referencing generative AI output that is only available to you, cite this as personal communication and include a description of the AI-generated material in your in-text citation.
(Communicator, personal communication, Day Month Year)
(OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI language model, personal communication, 7 February 2023)
(The Chicago Manual of Style Online, 2023)
You need to credit ChatGPT and similar tools whenever you use the text that they generate in your own work. For most types of writing, you can simply acknowledge the AI tool in your text (e.g., “The following recipe for pizza dough was generated by ChatGPT”). If you need a more formal citation, a numbered reference should be used. A Chicago footnote is recommended in citations, treating the source as you would a personal communication. As such, they would not be included in the bibliography
Please see the Chicago Manual of Style’s FAQ item on citing content developed or generated by artificial intelligence.
Reference List Entry
(“Text generated by ChatGPT [Author], date, publisher, URL)
Text generated by ChatGPT, March 7, 2023, OpenAI, https://chat.openai.com/chat.
ChatGPT is the author of the content, and the date is the date the text was generated. OpenAI (the organization that developed ChatGPT) is listed as the publisher and the URL tells us where the ChatGPT tool may be found.
Note: if the prompt hasn’t been included in the text of the article or paper, it can be included in the note.
ChatGPT, response to “Explain how to make pizza dough from common household ingredients,” March 7, 2023, OpenAI.
- McAdoo, T. (2023, April 7). How to cite ChatGPT. American Psychological Association. https://apastyle.apa.org/blog/how-to-cite-chatgpt
- Modern Languages Association of America. (2023). How do I cite generative AI in MLA style?
MLA Style Center. https://style.mla.org/citing-generative-ai/
- The Chicago Manual of Style Online. (2023, July 20). Citation, documentation of sources. https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qanda/data/faq/topics/Documentation/faq0422.html
- The University of Queensland. (2023). Citing ChatGPT and other generative AI. https://guides.library.uq.edu.au/referencing/uqharvard/chatgpt-and-generative-ai