OJNI Stepping up to APA Seventh Edition Guidelines

Using APA guidelines

Since its inception 24 years ago, OJNI has used the American Psychological Association (APA) style guidelines. Over the years APA has refined these guidelines, and in the fall of 2019, they released their seventh edition and recommended that the new edition be implemented by authors by Q2 of 2020 (APA, 2020a). Thus, in 2020, OJNI requires that all new manuscripts be formatted using this new seventh edition, but in a modified way to best suit the online format.

What’s New in the Seventh Edition?

The biggest changes in the new guidelines are the way references are cited within the content and in the reference list of a manuscript and how electronic sources are cited.


In their quick reference guide, APA (2020b) illustrates how common citations (journal, books, and edited books) should be cited. The biggest changes in this simple guide is that publisher location no longer needs to be included (e.g. Harper: New York would now become just Harper) and that doi be included if inclusive to the publication (however, authors should not include a URL or database information for works from academic research databases, e.g. EBSCO or CINAHL).

In-text citations have been significantly changed for multiple authors. Citations for one or two authors remain the same – for instance (Kaminski, 2020) and (Kaminski & Church, 2020), however “all in-text citations for works with three or more authors are shortened to the name of the  first author plus “et al.” (except where this would create ambiguity)” (APA, 2020c, p. xx). In the sixth edition, up to six authors were expected to be cited for the first citation, and et al. was only allowed for subsequent citations.

For example:

6th ed. First citation: (Smith, Jones, Pace & Cameron, 2020) can now be simplified to:
7th ed. First citation: (Smith et al., 2020)

However, reference lists must now be more comprehensive: instead of stopping at seven authors, “the number of authors included in a reference entry has changed; up to 20 authors are now included before names are omitted with an ellipsis” (APA, 2020b, p. xxi).

Another major change in  the reference list is that the words “Retrieved from” no longer need to be included before a DOI or URL. The basic structure for a one author citation that includes a web address would be:

Last name, First initial. (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL

For instance:

6th ed. Kaminski, J. (2020). OJNI stepping up to APA seventh edition guidelines. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI), 24(1). Retrieved from

7th ed. Kaminski, J. (2020). OJNI stepping up to APA seventh edition guidelines. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI), 24(1).

As well, unique DOI are now included as a link.

For example:

6th ed. doi:10.1353/hpu.2007.0031
7th ed. https:// doi:10.1353/hpu.2007.0031

You can refer to online resources such as the Purdue Online Writing Lab (2020) for more specifics on how to cite various printed and electronic resources.

Figures and Tables

OJNI uses the first option provided by APA for figures and tables, where we embed them in the text after they are first mentioned (rather than as a cluster at the end of the article). Each figure and table is titled consecutively, with the title placed above the graphic in bold, e.g. Figure 1 Data Results or Table 1 Demographics.

APA outlines the following standards for figures (which also apply to tables):

  • images are clear
  • lines are smooth and sharp
  • font is legible and simple
  • units of measurement are provided
  • axes are clearly labeled
  • elements within the figure are clearly labeled or explained

When submitting a manuscript with figures or tables to OJNI, we ask that all figures and tables be submitted as a graphic file (either jpg or png) in a clear, high resolution format. However, the title of the figure or table should NOT be embedded in this graphic. Rather, the title should be typed in the manuscript where the figure will be inserted, with the figure submitted separately, and appropriately saved as figure1.jpg or table1.png. As well, if notes are required below the table or figure, these should be typed directly into the manuscript and not included in the graphic provided.

For instance, the manuscript should show:

Figure 1: Data Results
(insert Figure 1 here)
Type notes below the insertion point right in the manuscript.

Modified APA Format Required

To publish your work professionally on the OJNI site, we ask that you use a modified APA layout. Please follow these steps to ensure the best appearance of your published work.

Align all content including headings to the left of the page

Use Times New Roman size 12 font, double spaced for all text.

  1. Title of Manuscript (use H1 font)
  2. By Principal Author and Credentials e.g. Your Name, RN MSN PhD (italics)
  3. Any Secondary Authors
  4. Abstract (keep brief, use sections e.g. Background, Purpose, Design, Results)
  5. Keywords
  6. Introduction
  7. Content – to accommodate the online formatting please modify your content as indicated:
    • Paragraphs double spaced, all left aligned, no indentation
    • Use American spelling and be sure to pay attention to your word processing program’s alerts about spelling and grammar.
    • No numbering with Headings e.g. VI. or 1.
    • Headings Level One for titles and Key sections with subsections (left aligned)
    • Headings Level Two for routine headings (left aligned)
    • Headings Level Three and on – use as needed (all left aligned)
    • Flag areas where figures (images) and tables need to be inserted clearly, e.g. use yellow highlight tool - so the insert point stands out readily e.g. INSERT FIG 1.
    • Include all figures and tables as individual graphics in either jpg or png format. Do not embed them in your manuscript. Ensure all spelling, etc. is correct on them and presentation is camera ready. Upload each to Submittable as a separate file.
    • Have a peer review your work and ensure that your formatting, spelling, grammar, and clarity are all polished before uploading to Submittable.
    • All within-content referencing must be done using APA e.g. (Name, 2009).
    • All quotes from the literature must include full citation with page number e.g. (Name, 2009, p.2).
    • If a reference is available online, include a link within the citation, e.g. (Name, 2009, p.2)
  8. Make your reference list. Cite as per APA EXCEPT do not indent any lines – left align all and use single spacing, e.g.
    • Toews, D. (2020) The New Tarde: Sociology after the end of the social theory. Culture & Society, 20 (5), 81-98.
  9. Author Bio(s).

Include a brief (one paragraph) biographical sketch of all authors, including current position and full credentials at the end of your manuscript. You may also include an Acknowledgement section at the end, if appropriate.

Before submitting your manuscript to OJNI, please ensure that APA 7th edition style has been applied to your work. In all future 2020 editions, the new APA edition will be used for all manuscripts and editorial feedback will address these expectations.

Online Journal of Nursing Informatics

Powered by the HIMSS Foundation and the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Community, the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics is a free, international, peer reviewed publication that is published three times a year and supports all functional areas of nursing informatics.

Read the Latest Edition

American Psychological Association. (2020a). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

American Psychological Association. (2020b). APA style 7th edition: Quick reference guide.

American Psychological Association. (2020c). APA style 7th edition: Introduction.

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2020). APA Style (7th Edition). Purdue University.