Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. How do you recommend citing content developed or generated by artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT? Many scholarly publishers are requiring its identification though also requiring human authors to take responsibility for it and will not permit the AI to have “authorship.”

A. 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:

1. Text generated by ChatGPT, OpenAI, March 7, 2023,

ChatGPT stands in as “author” of the content, and OpenAI (the company that developed ChatGPT) is the publisher or sponsor, followed by the date the text was generated. After that, the URL tells us where the ChatGPT tool may be found, but because readers can’t necessarily get to the cited content (see below), that URL isn’t an essential element of the citation.

If the prompt hasn’t been included in the text, it can be included in the note:

1. ChatGPT, response to “Explain how to make pizza dough from common household ingredients,” OpenAI, March 7, 2023.

If you’ve edited the AI-generated text, you should say so in the text or at the end of the note (e.g., “edited for style and content”). But you don’t need to say, for example, that you’ve applied smart quotes or adjusted the font; changes like those can be imposed silently (see CMOS 13.7 and 13.8).

If you’re using author-date instead of notes, any information not in the text would be placed in a parenthetical text reference. For example, “(ChatGPT, March 7, 2023).”

But don’t cite ChatGPT in a bibliography or reference list unless you provide a publicly available link (e.g., via a browser extension like ShareGPT or A.I. Archives). Though OpenAI assigns unique URLs to conversations generated from your prompts, those can’t be used by others to access the same content (they require your login credentials), making a ChatGPT conversation like an email, phone, or text conversation—or any other type of personal communication (see CMOS 14.214 and 15.53).

To sum things up, you must credit ChatGPT when you reproduce its words within your own work, but unless you include a publicly available URL, that information should be put in the text or in a note—not in a bibliography or reference list. Other AI-generated text can be cited similarly. Check back with us for updates on this evolving topic.

For some considerations on the use of AI in scholarly publishing and the responsibilities of authors, start with this position statement on authorship and AI tools from COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics).

[Editor’s update: Original answer updated to put the publisher before the date and to acknowledge tools like ShareGPT and A.I. Archives.]