Style Request: Oscola

  • edited December 24, 2016
    [edit: nevermind; not quite yet]
  • But now. The updated version will appear on the repository within 30mins (check the timestamp). Update your copy of the style by clicking "Update Now" in the General tab of the Zotero preferences.

    Styles also update automatically within 24hs for Zotero 4.0+
    In an existing document, you may have to switch to a different style and back for the changes to take effect once the style is updated.
  • Great news!

    Just tested it, and it looks perfect now. Here is the exact output before/after the update:

    Alexandros Tsadiras, ‘The Ombudsman’, EU Administrative Law (2nd edn, OUP 2012) 754.
    Alexandros Tsadiras, ‘The Ombudsman’ in Paul Craig, EU Administrative Law (2nd edn, OUP 2012) 754.
  • Oby
    edited January 13, 2017
    I have another suggestion for "low-hanging fruit"-improvement to OSCOLA; correct styling of working papers.

    This is what the OSCOLA manual (4th edn) says about such papers:
    Working papers may be available online on institution websites and on sites such as the Social Science Research Network ( . They should be cited in a similar fashion to electronic journal articles . Because the content of working papers is subject to change, the date of access is particularly important.
    And this is the example given in the manual (substituting [ and ] for the greater than/lesser than symbols):
    John M Finnis, ‘On Public Reason’ (2006) Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper 1/2007, 8 [http://ssrn .com/abstract=955815] accessed 18 November 2009
    At present, the OSCOLA style comes very close to giving the right output with the item type set as either "Conference paper" or "Manuscript". For "Conference paper", I put the additional info (series/number) in the "proceedings title" field, while for "Manuscript" I put the additional info in the "type" field.

    This gives the following output for "Conference paper":
    John M Finnis, ‘On Public Reason’, Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper 1/2007 (2006) 8 [http://ssrn .com/abstract=955815] accessed 18 November 2009.
    And the following for "Manuscript":
    John M Finnis, On Public Reason (2006), Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper 1/2007 8 [http://ssrn .com/abstract=955815] accessed 18 November 2009.
    I submit that "Manuscript" is the most appropriate item type for such working papers. "Conference proceedings" is its own nice, with distinct citation requirements.

    To bring the citation of the "Manuscript" item type in OSCOLA up to par with the style manual, only two small edits are necessary. First, the title must not be in italic, but instead enclosed in single quotation marks. Second, the comma after the year/date must be removed. Third, a comma must be added following the information in the "type" field (in the example above, following the text 1/2007), so that this information is distinguished from the pinpoint cite. Finally, the URI must be added at the end, before accessed date.

    (I would love to fix this myself and submit a pull request, but the OSCOLA style has become a bit too advanced for me, and I am in the last few weeks of my PhD.)
  • have you tried report? That's what we usually use for working papers (and what is saved from SSRN), though I'm not sure it'll work here since we may be using it for other item types.
  • Oby
    edited January 13, 2017
    @adamsmith : Report appears to give the right output, if the research papers series is given in the "Report Type" field, and the number in the "Report number" field. The output is as follows:
    John M Finnis, ‘On Public Reason’ (2006) Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper 1/2007 [http://ssrn .com/abstract=955815] accessed 18 November 2009.
    However, I would argue that report is not the appropriate item type for unpublished research papers. Report connotes an informational work, often produced by an organization or other collective. E.g. a report about a certain event. Indeed, a report is usually research data (input) and not a research product (output).

    Manuscript, on the other hand, connotes written scientific or artistic work that has yet to be properly published. This is exactly what working papers and other unfinished article manuscripts are. They are unfinished papers, subject to change before final publication.

    After publication, the paper becomes a "Journal Article". And if an unfinished paper has been presented at a conference it becomes either "Presentation" (if not published in a conference proceeding) or "Conference paper" (if published in a conference proceeding).

    Although it is often necessary to use workarounds in OSCOLA to get legal citation to work, the workarounds should not compromise the distinctions between item types that is in place already. It makes no sense to use the same item type on what is in reality two things - reports and working papers - when there are two distinct item types available. Using the manuscripts item type is also very useful due to the visual distinction they gain in Zotero collections due to their unique icon.

    Consequently, I suggest that the output of manuscript is amended as I wrote above. Indeed, doing so would not do any damage; those who wish to file working papers as "reports" may well continue doing so.

    (PS: I am fully aware that Zotero is not a democracy, and that we users cannot boss developers around. All I'm trying to do is to create the best rational argument, in the hope that it will prevail.)
  • Oby
    edited January 13, 2017
    I also came across a small bug in the OSCOLA style today; pinpoint citations to chapters are not rendering correctly on subsequent cites.

    To reproduce: cite a book in Libreoffice, choosing "chapter" from the drop-down menu and entering the chapter number ("3"), the first citation is generated correctly:
    Ivar Alvik, Contracting with
    Sovereignty: State Contracts and International Arbitration
    (Hart Publishing 2011) ch 3
    However, subsequent citations using the same approach omit the crucial "ch" text:
    Alvik (n 1) 3
    (It thus looks like I am citing page 3 rather than chapter 3.)

    Workaround for the moment:
    Just type "ch 2" in the "suffix" field instead.

    Be aware, though, that this can create issues if you want to cite the same book again immediately as "ibid".
  • Will fix the chapter pinpoints.
    On the report, first, when we say that "Zotero is not a democracy" we mean that ten users writing +1 doesn't have much of an impact on development decisions. But both Dan on the Zotero side and Rintze, me (and for more controversial issues Franke, Bruce, et al.) on the CSL side listen very closely to arguments/user feedback and have been convinced many to change or implement features.

    I don't think we'll change this though. There are two reasons:
    1) Status quo bias: we've been using report for working papers for years. It's what's implemented in the major citation styles and it's what's imported from major working paper repositories/series like NBER and SSRN. Changing this would disrupt existing users citations.

    2) Systematic: In my view, a report is best described as a paper or manuscript published on its own and less formally than a book, often by an organization and often in a series of similar reports. I think that description fits working paper quite well. Manuscripts, on the other hand, I would use for items that are actually unpublished (e.g. sent to me by the author or just from their website).
  • Oby
    edited January 13, 2017
    Thanks for fixing the bug of the missing "ch"!

    On "manuscipt", I see your points, but I still think the suggested change is compatible with both of them:

    1) There would be no status quo change. There is no need to touch the output of "Report" in OSCOLA. Users are then free to choose which item type they want to use.

    2) To cite unpublished manuscripts "just sent to the author" properly, it is still necessary with the suggested changes. See the OSCOLA general principles for secondary sources (p. 39 in 4th ed), which apply since no particular referencing rules are written for this specific instance:
    author, | ‘title’ | (additional information, | publisher | year)

    PS: I didn't want to sound snarky with my "Zotero is not a democracy" comment, I just wanted to show deference and not sound entitled :-)
  • OK, that we can do.
    (And I didn't take your comment as snark but rather as undue deference ;) -- point is that we want to hear people's opinion.)
  • Great!

    (PS: I guess polite argument on the internet is difficult, it's so easy to be misread. Good to hear I was not this time ;-) )
  • Oby
    edited February 3, 2017
    Sorry for nagging, but I just wondered whether there was any ETA/progress on the chapter pinpoints and the manuscripts item type.

    (Asking because my thesis will be submitted in a couple of weeks, and I am therefore charting out the things I need to double-check and manually fix.)
  • No progress, but it's not a ton of work, so will be done soon after I start. What precisely is your timeline. I can push this if one week earlier or later matters.
  • I submit on the 1st of March. So if it is in place a week before that, I'm a happy man ;-)
  • I can make that happen. If I don't have it up by February 22, ping me here and I'll do it within a day.
  • @adamsmith (Just a gentle reminder, as requested.)
  • thanks; will do tonight or first thing tomorrow AM
  • Could you fix the chapter pinpoint issue then, too? See my post above (13 january):
  • OK, I've fixed pinpoint and adjusted the manuscript formatting*.
    I've currently handled the manuscript like you initially requested, but I don't think that's quite right. Currently it puts the type after the parentheses with the year (as it does for report). But it seems to me it would be correct to put it in the parenthesis as it does for thesis.

    (If there's anyone who used the previous workaround with manuscript standing in as treaty, you can get back the previous behavior by adding itemType: treaty into the extra field.
  • Oby
    edited February 23, 2017
    Thank you so much for taking the time to do these fixes. Chapter pinpoints work flawlessly!

    On the manuscript formatting, I think what you have now is actually perfect. That is because the manuscript type may sometimes contain a year (e.g. University of Somewhere Working paper 1/2013) or a number that may be confused with a year. It therefore seems best to have the "type" field after the paranthesis.

    But, one thing needs fixing, and that is a comma separator after type, before pinpoint. The current output with pinpoint set to page 20 is as follows:
    Frederik Naert, ‘Shared Responsibility in the Framework of the European Union’s Common Security Defense Policy Operations’ (2016) SHARES Research Paper 92 20
    With the added comma (in bold for better visibility):
    Frederik Naert, ‘Shared Responsibility in the Framework of the European Union’s Common Security Defense Policy Operations’ (2016) SHARES Research Paper 92, 20
  • I think what you have now is actually perfect. That is because the manuscript type may sometimes contain a year (e.g. University of Somewhere Working paper 1/2013) or a number that may be confused with a year. It therefore seems best to have the "type" field after the paranthesis.
    but that's because you're thinking of this as a working paper, which as I say above should be handled by the report item type. The example for unpublished manuscript you have above is:
    author, | ‘title’ | (additional information, | publisher | year)

    I'll add the comma before the pinpoint.
  • Sorry to nag, but I just wanted to know whether the comma will be added soon?

    (I submit my thesis Wednesday, and if it is not added, I have to make a note to manually put it in at the very end.)
  • I'm really sorry, it turns out the comma is tied to a whole slew of other things and I won't be able to get this right in time.
  • No problem, I'll just insert it manually for the couple of sources it is applicable to. Just needed an answer, and that you have dilligently given me. Thanks again for providing great support :-)
  • Hello! I've just started using the Oscola style for Zotero, great work! I've just come across the same issue with working paper pinpoints as Oby and just wanted to say it would be great if this could be fixed some time in the future (I've got about 1,5 years before I need to hand in my PhD, so no rush for my part).
    Thanks again!
  • @heidecat are you using report or manuscript for working papers? The style is really meant to use report.
  • I'm using Report!
  • Hi,

    I'm so grateful for the OSCOLA style with zotero - it's amazing!

    It might be that I'm doing something wrong but I'm having difficulty with citing sections of statutes. The first time the act is cited it works perfectly (I insert the statute and then use the drop down menu to add the section number which displays correctly). However, if I cite another section of the same act immediately underneath the first one it shows up as 'ibid 25' instead of 'ibid s25'. Then if the act is cited later on in the work, even if I use the drop down menu to add a section number it does not display in the reference. So it currently looks like this:

    1 EU Referendum Act 2015, s3.
    2 ibid 4.
    3 [other citation].
    4 EU Referendum Act 2015 (n1).

    when I think it should be:

    1 EU Referendum Act 2015, s3.
    2 ibid s4.
    3 [other citation].
    4 EU Referendum Act 2015, s5.

    (as OSCOLA says not to cross reference subsequent citations of legislation)

    I don't imagine there is a way to prevent the system from cross referencing statutes but would it be possible for the section numbers to appear in the reference?
    4 EU Referendum Act 2015 (n1), s5.

    The cross reference would be pretty easy to take out at the end but keeping track of section numbers to add in manually at the end doesn't seem ideal.

    NB If I add the section to the record in my library (eg making a new entry for every section of an act) it doesn't show in the reference either.

    Thanks so much.
  • (as OSCOLA says not to cross reference subsequent citations of legislation)
    could you point me to the page number in the guide for that. It's absolutely possible to not crossreference certain item types.
    I'll look at the rest, thanks.
  • Thank you so much.

    It's pg 6 of the guide at the top of the page.

    'EXAMPLE of subsequent citation of legislation
    This example shows legislation for which a short form could be used in a subsequent
    citation. The short form is indicated in brackets at the end of the full citation. In
    such cases, the short form can be used without a cross-citation to the full citation
    where the proximity of the full citation enables this to be done without confusing the
    reader. Where that is not the case, a further full citation should be provided, with the
    result that cross-citation is never necessary.

    32 Council Directive (EC) 93/104 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of
    working time [1993] OJ L307/18 (Working Time Directive).

    40 Working Time Directive, art 2.'
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