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APA Style (6th ed)

Software & Computer Code

NOTE: This page reflects the old version of the APA Publication Manual (6th ed). If you require the current version, please see APA Style (7th ed)

The Basics


The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) does not contain examples of how to cite copied source code.

Useful websites for citing copied source code include:

When using code from an open source project, provide attribution for the source and follow the terms of any open source license that applies to the code. Keep in mind:

  • When downloading the source, the license is typically part of the download
  • The source code itself will contain the copyright and terms of use
  • When incorporating open-source-licensed code into a program, it is good practice to duplicate the copyright in your code, and/or store the license in a file with the code
  • If you don’t obtain the license with the download, you should be able to find it on the site of the open source project such as Apache HTTP Server site and Open Source Initiative (OSI) Site.


Computer Software, online

Smith, J. (2011). GraphicsDrawer source code (Version 2.0) [Source code]. Retrieved from 

Computer Software, hardcopy

Comprehensive Meta-Analysis (Version 2) [Computer software]. Englewood, NJ: Biostat.

Citing Code in the Source Code

Insert as a comment above the reused source code

*    Title: GraphicsDrawer source code
*    Author: Smith, J
*    Date: 2011
*    Code version: 2.0
*    Availability:

Find more examples from APA Academic Writer. (Click on +More Like This for a list of similar examples)
See the Publication Manual: 7.08 Data Sets, Software, Measurement Instruments, and Apparatus

Your professor may have different citing expectations than library staff. Always check at the beginning of term and before starting assignments that the citing rules you are using are appropriate for your class.