This guidance is intended to help you implement Cranfield University's provisional guidance for the use of generative AI, specifically with regards to referencing generative AI when you have used it. However, please note that generative AI is evolving rapidly and there is not yet general consensus on how to acknowledge and reference it. This guidance will therefore continue to be reviewed and updated.
Before using generative AI, it is essential you ensure that:
Generative AI can be a useful starting point to gather background information on a topic, but be aware that:
If you do choose to use generative AI tools, you must always:
The use of generative AI must be acknowledged in an ‘Acknowledgements’ section of any piece of academic work where it has been used as a tool to assist in the process of creating the work.
Minimum requirement to include in acknowledgement:
I acknowledge the use of ChatGPT 3.5 (Open AI, https://chat.openai.com) to summarise my initial notes and to proofread my final draft.
Further requirements may be stipulated by a department, academic programme or individual teaching staff, or for a particular assignment, and must be made clear to students when an assignment is set. Additional requirements may include expanded description in the ‘Acknowledgements’ or ‘Methods’ section, such as:
These acknowledgements should not be included in the word count of a piece of work, unless stipulated otherwise for a particular assignment or by a particular academic programme or department. The acknowledgements should either be placed at the beginning or end of the document.
Some referencing styles suggest that AI systems should be cited in a similar way to other sources, most notably personal communications, but there are issues with citing AI systems:
We therefore favour the approach of many academic publishers, which stipulates that AI systems should not be cited as an author, nor included as a source in the reference list.
However, there may be cases where it is appropriate or necessary for you to refer to AI generated output within a piece of work and include it in a reference list, for example:
In such cases, the output should be treated as a work with no author, unless specified otherwise by departmental guidelines or the standardised referencing style you are using.
If you are required to use a standard referencing style which has specific rules for citing and referencing AI, the rules of the citation style should be followed, in addition to acknowledging the use of AI as outlined above. This may require the use of in-text citations and reference list entries where the AI tool is listed as an author.
Examples of how generative AI can be cited in a reference list are given below for the styles that are used at Cranfield University.
Open AI. (2023, November 6). ChatGPT (Version gpt-3.5-turbo-1106) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/
Open AI. ChatGPT [large language model on the Internet]. Version gpt-3.5-turbo-1106. San Francisco: Open AI; 2023 Nov 6 [cited 2023 Nov 22]. Available from: https://chat.openai.com/
Stokel-Walker, C. (2023) ChatGPT listed as author on research papers. Nature, 613(7945), 620-621. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-023-00107-z
Cranfield University acknowledges the guidance provided by UCL in producing this information.