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I'm at my page length maximum for my APA-style references section. Beyond using Bitly to shorten URLs, can I simply hyperlink my entire citation rather than wasting space with a following URL?

Example:

Terrell, Tracy. (1977). A Natural Approach to Second Language Acquisition and Learning. The Modern Language Journal. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1540-4781.1977.tb05147.x

Becomes:

Terrell, Tracy. (1977). A Natural Approach to Second Language Acquisition and Learning. The Modern Language Journal.

If so, which part of the reference can I hyperlink?

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In a strict reading of the relevant passage in the APA Manual, hyperlinking the reference without providing the DOI/URL as a readable string seems not possible. (At least using a URL shortener is okay to APA.)

If your paper is intended for a journal or conference, you should ask the editors whether they grant you a little excess in word count.

If your paper for a university course, simply do as you wish and tell your professor about your approach and why you did that.

In such a case, I would prefer to hyperlink only the title of the cited publication (again, there are no official guidelines, so perhaps one can deviate according to one's own taste).

However, just for the record, an Elsevier journal (not APA style) actually hyperlinks the whole reference:

A reference to a publication, whereby the whole reference is hyperlinked


By the way, note that if your cited reference has a DOI, you should link to the DOI and not to the URL. In your example, the DOI Is http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.1977.tb05147.x - - see the APA Manual (linked above):

  • Include a DOI for all works that have a DOI, regardless of whether you used the online version or the print version.
  • If a print work does not have a DOI, do not include any DOI or URL in the reference.
  • If an online work has both a DOI and a URL, include only the DOI.

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