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AI and Teaching: Citing AI


Because AI technology is a rapidly emerging technology, we are still learning how to ethically use and cite generative AI resources. As such, err on the side of transparency if you use one. Here are some ideas for citing generative AI responsibly:

  • Save a transcript of your chat. Make it available to or retrievable by your reader, possibly by including it as an appendix to your work or as an online supplement.
  • Describe the prompt that generated the specific AI tool response.
  • Include the date when the response was generated or date of access. This is important as these tools will update regularly.
  • Acknowledge how you used the tool. You can do this even if you only use generative AI to plan your paper or generate ideas and don't include any of its generated content.


The prominent citation styles have begun to address AI generative tools. Although each style varies slightly in their approach, they all agree that it is imperative to be clear if and how you use AI tools in your research. The following are the current recommendations, although these are subject to change as we continue to adapt to these technologies. 

APA Style


In April 2023, APA provided guidance for citing responses from ChatGPT or output from another generative AI tool.

Include a description of the prompt when quoting output from a generative AI tool in your paper. Use the author of the AI algorithm - or the company who produced the tool - in both the in-text citation and full reference. It may be worthwhile to include the chat's transcript as an appendix to your project.


Author. (Date). Name of tool (Version of tool) [Large language model]. URL


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


In-Text Citation Example:

(OpenAI, 2023)

Chicago Style


In March 2023, Chicago Style provided recommendations for citing content developed or generated by generative AI tools. 

 You do need to credit ChatGPT and similar tools whenever you use the text that they generate in your own work. But for most types of writing, you can simply acknowledge the AI tool in your text (e.g., “The following recipe for pizza dough was generated by ChatGPT”). If you need a more formal citation—for example, for a student paper or for a research article—a numbered footnote or endnote might look like this:


Chicago Style with footnotes

Personal communications are cited in a footnote, but are not listed in the bibliography.

Rule: Number.Originator of the communication, medium, Day Month, Year.

Example: 1 OpenAI's ChatGPT AI language model, response to question from author, 7 February, 2023.   

Shortened note rule: NumberCorrespondent's last name, medium

Example1 ChatGPT, response to prompt from author

Chicago Author-Date

Personal communications are cited within the text, but are not listed in the reference list.

Rule: (Correspondent's Full Name, medium if relevant, Month Day, Year)

Example: (OpenAI's ChatGPT, response to prompt from author, February 22, 2023)

MLA Style


In March 2023, MLA provided guidance for citing responses from ChatGPT or output from another generative AI tool.

"Description of chat" prompt. Name of AI tool, version of AI tool, Company, Date of chat, URL.


"Examples of harm reduction initiatives" prompt. ChatGPT, 23 Mar. version, OpenAI, 4 Mar. 2023,

In-Text Citation Example:

("Examples of harm reduction")

If you create a shareable link to the chat transcript, include that instead of the tool's URL.

MLA also recommends acknowledging when you used the tool in a note or your text as well as verifying any sources or citations the tool supplies.

Publishing Considerations

Before including generative AI tools in a project you intend to get published, make sure your target journal and publisher allow the integration of AI generated text and images with manuscript submissions.  Below are a few example publisher statements or policy on the use of AI in article submissions.


  • Elsevier AI author policy
    Elsevier’s new AI author policy focuses on ensuring the integrity of the scholarly record and aims to provide greater transparency and guidance to authors, readers, reviewers, editors and contributors.

  • IEEE Submission Policies
    IEEE Guidelines on AI-Generated Text: The use of artificial intelligence (AI)–generated text in an article shall be disclosed in the acknowledgements section of any paper submitted to an IEEE Conference or Periodical. The sections of the paper that use AI-generated text shall have a citation to the AI system used to generate the text.

    PLOS expects that articles should report the listed authors’ own work and ideas. Any contributions made by other sources must be clearly and correctly attributed.