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Generative AI: Supporting AI Literacy, Research, and Publishing

Citing Generative AI Contributions

As use of ChatGPT proliferated in the wake of its November 2022 release, many faculty and students began to ask, “If we use Generative AI, how should we cite it?”

One of the key considerations for citing ChatGPT and other Generative AI tools involves an understanding of authorship. While the US Copyright Office, many journals, and a number of scholarly societies don’t consider ChatGPT eligible for authorship status, its contributions and incorporation within a work must still be acknowledged. Guidelines will vary by a discipline's - or journal's - style guide; however, general best practices include:

  • Acknowledge and describe the use of the Generative AI tool within the work. This includes providing a description of the tool, prompt engineering process, as well as the use case (drafting, summarizing, editing, providing feedback, etc.).
  • Attribute authorship to Open AI or the underlying application purveyor/data source, not ChatGPT, etc. Remember, ChatGPT isn't considered an author or co-author by many agencies. 
  • Include the version and access date in the citation construct. As different versions will provide varied outputs and are now connected to the Internet, having both the journal and the access date is especially helpful for maintaining the scholarly record.

Of course, you should always check with your professor and/or the publisher to determine if Generative AI is permissible prior to using it in your work.

APA Style

The following are examples that were modified from the APA Style Blog's article, "How to Cite ChatGPT" (April 2023) for citing text-based Generative AI outputs:

Parenthetical citation: (Open AI, 2023)

Narrative citation: OpenAI (2023)

Text: When prompted with “Is the left brain right brain divide real or a metaphor?” the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that although the two brain hemispheres are somewhat specialized, “the notation that people can be characterized as ‘left-brained’ or ‘right-brained’ is considered to be an oversimplification and a popular myth” (OpenAI, 2023).

Reference List: OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT3.5 (Mar 14 version) [Large language model]. Accessed July 10, 2023, from