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Citing Generative A.I.

This guide provides guidance and examples of how to cite generative A.I. tools like ChatGPT in widely used citation styles.

Guide overview

This guide collects guidance from major style guides on how to cite generative A.I. tools, with a focus on ChatGPT. The guidance can, as a rule, be generalized to other generative A.I. tools as well. Note that different courses have different policies around the permissibility of using these tools and that both tools themselves and guidance around using and citing them are rapidly developing. This guide will be up-to-date as of the 'last updated' date in the lower left-hand corner of this page.

APA (American Psychological Association)

The APA recommends describing your use of any generative A.I. tools in the methods section of your paper, or a comparable section, such as the introduction, and optionally including its full response in an appendix. The recommended format for in-text citations and references is the one used for citing software in section 10.10 of the Publication Manual  (American Psychological Association, 2020, Chapter 10).

         Example reference list entry for ChatGPT (software):

          OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].

          Example in-text citation for ChatGPT:

  • Parenthetical citation: (OpenAI, 2023)
  • Narrative citation: OpenAI (2023)

    The year (2023) is the year of the software release, not the year you used it. Note that your prompt to ChatGPT and its response are not included in the citation because the APA recommends including them in the text of your paper, or in an appendix.


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


Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style recommends simply acknowledging the A.I. tool in your text in most cases. If a more formal citation is required for coursework or publication, the A.I. tool can be cited in a numbered footnote or endnote:

    1. Text generated by ChatGPT, OpenAI, September 15, 2023,

  The prompt to the A.I. tool should be included either in the text or in the note, for example:
    1. ChatGPT, response to “Write a song about cats in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan,” OpenAI, September 15, 2023.

Note that the A.I. tool is treated as an author for formatting purposes, and the date used is when the content was generated.

MLA Style (Modern Language Association)

The MLA uses a template of core elements, with the following recommendations for citing generative A.I. tools:

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." (“How Do I Cite Generative AI in MLA Style?”)


“How Do I Cite Generative AI in MLA Style?” MLA Style Center, 17 Mar. 2023,