Turkey-Based Academic Writing And Referencing Style: ISNAD

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Demir A., Ozkan A.

CUMHURIYET ILAHIYAT DERGISI-CUMHURIYET THEOLOGY JOURNAL, vol.22, pp.1791-1810, 2018 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier


The ISNAD is a Turkey-based academic writing and referencing style developed to be used in studies done in the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Citation” is one of the  essentiality of the scientific nature of knowledge as well as a requirement of respect for intellectual property and copyrights. It is a crime of publication ethics when the original source of the text is not cited (plagiarism). Therefore, the sources of a scientific study must be cited correctly and completely with its bibliographic components so that other researchers can easily access to them. 

The ISNAD citation style, as a Turkey-based citation style, has been developed to meet the reference requirements in the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences such as Anthropology, Archeology and Art History, Geography, Language and Literature, Education, Philosophy, Folklore, Law, Economics and Administrative Sciences, Theology, Psychology, Arts, Social Work, Sociology and History. 

The ISNAD citation stylecontains all the rules necessary to know and apply in academic writings such as how to determine the title of an academic work, what information should be included in its abstract, how to select the keywords, how the outlining format should be, how to create the tables and figures, how to write the names of authors and the titles of studies carried out in Arabic, Persian or English, how to indicate dates and centuries, what should be considered in the context of publication ethics, how to quote directly or indirectly from the source work, how to cite the references in the text or footnotes and how to create the bibliography.

The word “isnād” (pl. asānīd) is derived from the root “sanad (pl. asnād)” in Arabic, meaning “to rely on, to lean, to put one’s trust in” in dictionary. Therefore, it means “to ground, to base upon, to take the word back to its owner, to indicate the way through which a word or a narration has been arrived, or to take it back to its origin.” It is used to question and indicate the source of the word as in the example of “what is the origin of your word?” in this sense, the word “ISNAD” was chosen as a name for the citation style by the majority (70.4%) of editors who work for the journals publishing in the field of Theology in Turkey. 

The ISNAD citation stylewas developed first as “Theology Citation Style” between 2017-2018 and its first version was published on 12/03/2018 in printed form and online and was put into service free of cost. This style, upon gaining interest in the journals belong to the field of Theology and also upon being demanded in other fields in Turkey and Turkic Republics, was put into service, updated to be used in all of social sciences in September 2018 as the second version of the ISNAD. From now on, the ISNADcan be used in all the fields Humanities and Social Sciences. 

The ISNAD citation stylehas been created by Dr. Abdullah Demir, as a part of RGD-015 numbered Project called “The National Ilahiyat Citation Index Project” which is supported by the administration of Sivas Cumhuriyet University within the scope of Sivas Cumhuriyet University Religious Sciences Implementation and Research Center (DIMER). This citation style has been developed by considering the views, suggestions and evaluations of the editors and of academicians who are specialists in the academic publications and peer-reviewed journals. Among the popular citation styles, APA has been upgraded by American Psychology Association, and Chicago by the Modern Languages Association and both have been launched for marketing. 

The ISNADis a style that was developed within Turkey and was launched in 12/03/2018. It is a style that has been, within a short period of time, adopted by peer-reviewed academic journals and book publications as well as by the faculty deans (in writing graduation thesis) and the Administration of the Institutes of Social Sciences (in writing Master and Ph.D. theses). It is also a style that has been integrated as one of the forms of citation in the index and journal platforms such as TUBITAK (The Scientific And Technological Research Council of Turkey) TR Indexand TUBITAK DergiPark (JournalPark Platform). In this citation style, the templates are created in the similar fashion as those of the library and citation management programs like Zotero, Mendeley and EndNote, which have been used worldwide. It is the only style which have been provided free of charge for the first time and is the only local and national citation style. Therefore, from this point of view, it is very important. If Turkish is targeted to become a scientific language, development of a scientific citation style is mandatory to achieve this target.The ISNAD citation style, that has been developed in Turkish language and is free to be used, is more convenient and easier to be learnt and used by the middle school and university students, as compared to the other citation styles, that are English in origin and are unaffordable. The scientists in Turkish speaking countries will help strengthen Turkish as a scientific language by preparing their scientific researches like symposium papers, articles and books according to the ISNAD citation style. 

By the ISNAD citation style, it is targeted to use a common citation style in Turkey and Turkic Republics in the publications prepared in the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences such as; Anthropology, Archeology, Geography, Language and Literature, Philosophy, ethnology, Law, Economic and Administrative Sciences, Theology, Music, Psychology, Art History, Social Services, Sociology and History. The use of the ISNAD citation stylewill help detect the citation and the degree of influence by standardizing the citation style in the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences in Turkish speaking countries and will make the scientific communication easier in Turkish speaking World.

The ISNAD citation stylehas been initiated for students, academicians, writers who research and write in the Humanities and Social Sciences and for those institutions and organizations publishing in the same field. Many journals who publish in the field of Social Sciences have started using the ISNAD citation style. The number of universities who prefer using the ISNAD citation stylein BA graduation thesis, MA and Ph.D thesis is increasing. Furthermore, institutions and organizations organizing national and international symposiums and conferences have started asking their participants to prepare their papers according to the ISNAD citation style. This style, that has been initiated free of cost, having user-friendly interface and citation software add-ons, is gaining acceptance and is being adopted rapidly. Students, writers, researchers and academicians can carry out their “reference and citation” processes easily, fast and free of mistake with the help of the ISNAD’s citation management software add-ons like EndNote, Zotero and Mendeley. The use of the ISNAD citation stylecontinues to increase in Turkey and Turkic Republics.


İSNAD, sosyal ve beşeri bilimler alanında hazırlanan çalışmalarda kullanılmak üzere Türkiye merkezli olarak geliştirilen akademik yazım ve kaynak gösterme sistemidir. “Kaynak gösterme”, bilginin bilimselliğinin bir gereği olduğu kadar fikrî mülkiyet ve telif haklarına saygının da bir gereğidir. İstifade edilen bir kaynağın araştırmada belirtilmemesi yayın etiği suçudur (intihal / plagiarism). Bu sebeple ortaya konulan bilimsel bir çalışmanın kaynakları, başka araştırmacılar tarafından tekrar ulaşılabilir ve kontrol edilebilir olacak şekilde bibliyografik bileşenleri ile doğru ve eksiksiz olarak yazılmak durumundadır. İSNAD atıf sistemi; akademik bir yazının başlığının nasıl belirleneceği, özetinin hangi bilgileri içermesi gerektiği, anahtar kavramların nasıl seçileceği, başlıklandırma formatının nasıl olması gerektiği, içerdiği tablo ve şekillerin nasıl oluşturulacağı, çalışmada kullanılan Arapça, Farsça, İngilizce ve diğer eser adlarının ve müellif isimlerinin nasıl yazılacağı, tarih ve yüzyılların hangi şekilde gösterileceği, yayın etiği kapsamında nelere dikkat edilmesi gerektiği, istifade edilen kaynak eserden dolaylı veya doğrudan nasıl alıntı yapılacağı, atıf yapılan kaynakların metin içinde veya dipnotta nasıl yazılacağı ve kaynakçanın nasıl oluşturulacağı gibi akademik yazımla ilgili bilinmesi ve uygulanması gerekli tüm kuralları içermektedir.