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AI Literacy for End-Users: Citing & Acknowledging AI

This guide is created to help HKUST students and staff develop their "AI Literacy" in the realm of higher education learning, teaching, and research. It is a work in progress


Citing AI Generated Content

At present, most citation styles do not have specific guidelines for referencing ChatGPT or other GenAI tools. The following are some available guidelines or recommendations from a few citation styles.

Citing AI content in APA style

APA style

How to cite ChatGPT - APA Style Blog (updated on Feb 23, 2024)

Suggested practices: 

1. Quoting or reproducing the text created by ChatGPT (or other AI models)

  • cite the content as software or algorithm's output (rather than personal communication as there's no actual person communicating)

Conversation with an AI model


Quote & In-text citation

"ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, focuses on generating human-like text based on extensive internet-trained data, while Claude, developed by Anthropic, emphasizes safety and alignment through constitutional AI principles, aiming to reduce harmful outputs by adhering to a set of predefined ethical guidelines." (OpenAI, 2024)



OpenAI. (2024). GPT-4o [Large language model].

  • describe how you used ChatGPT or other AI models in the Method or Introduction of your work
  • include the prompt used and any relevant generated text in your paper
  • for long responses, consider including them in an appendix

2. Creating a reference to ChatGPT or other AI models and software

  • cite the model or tool as software
More examples

Anthropic. (2024). Claude-3.5-Sonnet [Large language model].

Perplexity. (2024). [Large language model].

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

Citing AI content in Chicago style

Chicago style

Recommendations for Citing ChatGPT & other tools - Chicago Style Blog

Citing AI content in MLA style

MLA style

How do I cite Generative AI in MLA Style?  - MLA blog (March 17, 2023)

Citing AI content in IEEE style

IEEE style

According to the IEEE  Submission and Peer Review Policies -> Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence (AI)-Generated Text

"The use of content generated by artificial intelligence (AI) in an article (including but not limited to text, figures, images, and code) shall be disclosed in the acknowledgments section of any article submitted to an IEEE publication. The AI system used shall be identified, and specific sections of the article that use AI-generated content shall be identified and accompanied by a brief explanation regarding the level at which the AI system was used to generate the content.

The use of AI systems for editing and grammar enhancement is common practice and, as such, is generally outside the intent of the above policy. In this case, disclosure as noted above is recommended."

We suggest referring to AI-generated content as Software in IEEE style. 

Basic format for Software:
Title of Software: (version or year), Publisher Name. Accessed: Date (when applicable). [Type of Medium]. Available: URL

[1] ChatGPT (2023), OpenAI. Accessed Aug 2, 2023. [Online]. Available:

Publishers & AI Generated Content

Many publishers do not consider AI as author and they require authors to acknowledge/declare the use of AI in a statement, rather than "cite" AI contents


Other helpful guides

Other helpful guides


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