Using acronyms and initialisms 

Terms in the title of a text should not be accompanied by their abbreviation.
If a term occurs frequently in a text, accompany it by its abbreviation on first mention and just use the abbreviation in all further references.

Exemple correcte Our faculty’s internal quality assurance system (IQAS) is modelled on the document European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESGs) and each academic year all IQAS results are subject to an external review which considers those ESGs on an individual basis.


If the term only occurs once in the text, there is usually no need to give the abbreviation at all.
However, there are texts in which you should add an abbreviation after a term even though the term only occurs once. One case is legal or administrative texts, where for the sake of precision and clarity the abbreviation is as important to include as the full term.

Exemple correcte I hereby award this diploma to the student Joan Puig Peralta for having successfully completed the examinations organised by the University School of Nursing (EUI-UB) in the programme in Palliative Care.

Exemple correcte The University of Barcelona Virtual Museum (MVUB) declines any liability resulting from the incorrect use of this website.


Another case is a text in which the full term is not as useful to the reader as the abbreviation. In some institutions, for example, writers often translate the full names of organisations to help non-native readers but those translations are not used by other institutions. In such cases, the original-language abbreviation becomes particularly important for the reader as an identifier, as in the example of the Centre de Recerca d’Alta Muntanya (CRAM) below.

Exemple correcte The Centre for Mountain Research (CRAM) is a leading institute that promotes practical and theoretical research into the natural environment of the Pyrenees in aquatic systems and in records of environmental fluctuation and biodiversity.


A further case is a text in which the full term is not as reliable as the abbreviation. On the web, for example, a research organisation called the Centre de Recursos de Biodiversitat Animal is variously rendered as the Animal Biodiversity Resource Centre, the Resource Centre for Animal Biodiversity and the Centre for Resources in Animal Biodiversity. In such cases, add the full term’s official abbreviation (in this case, CRBA) even after an isolated reference.

Finally, however, do not use abbreviations simply because they make a text look more official and without considering whether the reader really benefits by them.

Exemple incorrecte I would like to express my gratitude to you and your colleagues for having invited our institution to the Third International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education (IECHE 2012).
Darrera actualització: 14-11-2017
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Recommended citation:
«Using acronyms and initialisms» [en línia]. A: Criteris de la Universitat de Barcelona (CUB). Style Guide. Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona. Serveis Lingüístics. <https://www.ub.edu/cub/criteri.php?id=2360> [consulta: 7 maig 2021].