Can organisations be referenced as authors?

This is the third and final lesson about Including Authors. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Discuss whether organisations can be referenced as authors

– Provide guidance for abbreviating organisations when citing and referencing academically

– Offer activities to check progress and understanding

Lesson 3

In this third and final lesson about including authors when referencing academic sources, we focus next on the concept of including organisations as authors instead of individual researchers. After completing this short course, students may wish to unlock and complete our activities to check their progress and understanding.

When is it acceptable to reference organisations?

There may be occasions when referencing in which the researcher is presented with missing source details and must decide what to do next. One fairly common example of this is when no obvious authors are available for the source being referenced. While a good academic should always try their best to find the authors’ names, if no authors are truly available then an organisation can be used instead, such as in the example below:  

Can organisations be abbreviated when citing?

Many famous organisations such as the Centers for Disease Control, the British Broadcasting Corporation and the World Health Organisation may be commonly abbreviated into initialisms, such as ‘CDC’, ‘BBC’ and ‘WHO’. When citing, students are certainly able to use abbreviations in their writing; however, there are two common citation rules that must be followed when abbreviating organisations:


Rule 1: For non-integral citations, the organisation’s name should be provided in full in the first citation and in its abbreviated form for every other citation:

Rule 2: For integral citations, the full name should be provided outside the brackets for the first citation with the abbreviated form placed within brackets immediately after. Every other integral citation should then be abbreviated:

When introducing an abbreviated organisation as the author of a source in an essay, students may wish to first use an integral citation (2) as this simultaneously introduces both the full name and the abbreviated initialism, improving clarity.

Can organisations be abbreviated when referencing?

Because references are intended to provide the complete details of the source being used, researchers should never abbreviate organisations’ names in their reference list and should instead write those names out in full. This is so that future researchers can more easily locate the sources which have been used to conduct the research, and so that your tutor can more easily verify your evidence:

Good work on completing this short course on including authors. After unlocking and completing our activities, consider next completing another course on this subject, such as locating source details or using translated texts

3 of 3 Lessons Completed


Once you’ve completed all three lessons in this short course about Including Authors, you might then wish to download our Lesson Worksheets to check your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks.

Lesson 1 explores the topic: How can I cite and reference multiple authors? Our Lesson 1 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Lesson 2 explores the topic: How can family and given names be identified? Our Lesson 2 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Lesson 3 explores the topic: Can organisations be referenced as authors? Our Lesson 3 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

To save yourself 2 Marks, click on the button below to gain unlimited access to all of our Including Authors Lesson Worksheets. This All-in-1 Pack includes every lesson, activity and answer key related this topic in one handy and professional PDF.


There are currently no PowerPoint activities, additional teacher resources or audio and video recordings created for this topic. Please come back again next semester.


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