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Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Students

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Unless otherwise stated, "Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Students" by Brenda Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). It is adapted from "Artificial Intelligence" by Ulrike Kestler, used under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.


How to acknowledge the use of AI

If your professor permits you to use generative AI (e.g., ChatGPT) in your assignment, make sure to follow the instructions on how exactly you can use it and to acknowledge its use. We highly recommend that you include the following information when using AI generated content in your work:

  • Written acknowledgment of the generative AI tool used and for what purpose
  • The prompt(s) used to generate the content 
  • A note about your modifications
  • In-text citation and bibliographic citation  
  • Include the original output with your submission
    • Note: In the past, content created by ChatGPT could not be replicated because an identical prompt would not produce the same response as before. This means that your instructor would not have been able to verify the result your original prompt created. There are now third-party tools such as ShareGPT and AI Archives that allow you to share the original output by making an archive of the content and a custom link. These tools could be useful for citing your use of AI because you can include this link instead of or in addition to a screenshot or printout of the output. ChatGPT has also introduced a link-sharing feature, but please be aware that the link will not work if you delete a conversation from your account.

Examples of written acknowledgments

Suggested format template:

I acknowledge the use of [insert AI system(s) and link] to [specific use of generative artificial intelligence]. I entered the following prompts on [date]: [list of prompts]. The output from these prompts was used to [explain use]. A copy of the original output is attached with my assignment.

Legend: [1] AI system(s) and link; [2] specific use of generative AI; [3] date AI prompt used[4] prompts used; [5] explanation of use.

Here are two examples of written acknowledgements, but please check with your professor about their preferences. The colour-coding is used to illustrate the legend from the template above. Do not use it in your acknowledgements.

Example 1:

I acknowledge the use of ChatGPT ( generate materials for background research and self-study for this assignment. I entered the following prompts on 7 April 2023:

  • Write a 250 word summary about the history of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Add two references.

The original output was adapted and modified for the final response. A copy of the original output is attached with my assignment.

Example 2:

I acknowledge the use of ChatGPT ( to refine the academic language and accuracy of my own work. I submitted my entire essay and entered the following prompts on 7 April 2023:

  • Improve the academic tone and accuracy of language, including grammatical structures, punctuation and vocabulary

The original output was adapted and modified for the final response. A copy of my original essay and a copy of the original output are attached with my assignment.

Citing AI by Citation Style

Some citation styles have begun to develop guidelines for citing ChatGPT and other generative AI. As of August 2023, only APA, Chicago, and MLA have posted guidance about citing generative AI. Guidelines may change and new citation styles may be added, so check back frequently for updates, and consult resources specific to the citation style you are using. If the style you are using does not have relevant guidelines yet, you may consider using the following formats:

  • Personal communication - if you are using generative AI to assist with your assignment that does not have a shareable output
  • App/Software - if the output is saved, is shareable, or otherwise retrievable (e.g., using ShareGPT, AI Archives, or ChatGPT link sharing feature)

AIs and Authorship

Publishers are taking various approaches related to the use of generative AI. If you are writing for publication, check the publisher's information for authors. As of August 2023, several publishers have provided guidance on how AI tools should be considered in their publications:

  • Cambridge University Press: AI must be declared and clearly explained, and does not meet the requirements for authorship in terms of accountability 
  • Elsevier: AI and AI-assisted tools do not qualify for authorship. Authors who use AI or AI-assisted tools during the manuscript writing process are asked to disclose their use in a separate section of the manuscript. Check out FAQ on the use of AI and AI-assisted writing technologies in scientific writing for more information.
  • Nature and other Springer Journals: Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT will not be accepted as credited authors on research papers. However, researchers using LLM tools should document their use in the methods or acknowledgement section
  • Oxford University Press: Processing tools driven by artificial intelligence (AI) such as ChatGPT do not qualify as authors, and OUP will screen for them in author lists. The use of AI (i.e., to help generate content, write code, or analyze data) must be disclosed both in cover letters to editors and in the Methods or Acknowledgements section of manuscripts
  • Science: Artificial Intelligence (AI) policy states: “Text generated from AI, machine learning, or similar algorithmic tools cannot be used in papers published in Science journals, nor can the accompanying figures, images, or graphics be the products of such tools, without explicit permission from the editors. In addition, an AI program cannot be an author of a Science journal paper. A violation of this policy constitutes scientific misconduct.”
  • Taylor & Francis: AI tools cannot be listed as an author, and their use must be acknowledge and documented appropriately 
  • Wiley: AI tools cannot be listed as an author of an article. If an author has used AI to develop any portion of a manuscript, its use must be described, transparently and in detail, in the Methods or Acknowledgements section.