Cochrane Style Manual
Internet references

When citing a website, consider whether the reference is a 'dynamic' web page that may be updated intermittently or a dated publication posted on a web page. The former type needs an 'accessed' date so that the citation reflects the state of the website at the time it was referred to. The Reference ID in such cases will usually be the year of the access date. For dated publications (e.g. reports) hosted on websites, there is no access date needed, and the Reference ID will include the year of the publication date. See also: Scientific or technical reports.

General guidance

  • When writing the URL, do not include the preceding 'http://' or 'https://'.
  • If the date of access is unknown, use '(accessed prior to DD Month YYYY)' using the date on which the review is being edited.
  • Keep URLs as short as possible; it is often possible to trim characters from the end. Aim for the simplest version of the url that delivers the page being cited.

Example: World Health Organization. Occupational health. (accessed 10 February 2019).

Reference ID WHO 2019
Reference type Other
Authors World Health Organization
English title Occupational health
Date of publication (accessed 10 February 2019)


Example: Wikipedia. Archie Cochrane. (accessed 1 March 2019).

Reference ID Wikipedia 2019
Reference type Other
Authors Wikipedia
English title Archie Cochrane
Date of publication (accessed 1 March 2019)


Example: World Health Organization. Workers’ health: global plan of action; May 2007. Available at

Reference ID WHO 2007
Reference type Other
Authors World Health Organization
English title Workers’ health: global plan of action; May 2007
Journal/book/source Available at
Date of publication  
Section info
John Hilton (
Describe change
Updated guidance on citing different types of web-based references.
Change date
9 April 2019