How to format your references using the BMC Cancer citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for BMC Cancer. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
1. Deisseroth K. Circuit dynamics of adaptive and maladaptive behaviour. Nature. 2014;505:309–17.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. McMichael A, Klenerman P. HIV/AIDS. HLA leaves its footprints on HIV. Science. 2002;296:1410–1.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Sahu G, Sukumaran S, Bera AK. Pannexins form gap junctions with electrophysiological and pharmacological properties distinct from connexins. Sci Rep. 2014;4:4955.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Dundas CM, Bramson AM, Ojha L, Wray JJ, Mellon MT, Byrne S, et al. Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes. Science. 2018;359:199–201.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
1. Cooney KA, Chappell JR, Callan RJ, Connally BA. Veterinary Euthanasia Techniques. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,; 2012.
An edited book
1. Eickhoff J, editor. The FLP Microsatellite Platform: Flight Operations Manual. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2016.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Day AP. Spherical Kikuchi Maps and Other Rarities. In: Schwartz AJ, Kumar M, Adams BL, Field DP, editors. Electron Backscatter Diffraction in Materials Science. Boston, MA: Springer US; 2009. p. 65–80.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for BMC Cancer.

Blog post
1. Andrew E. Astronomers directly image a filament of the “cosmic web” for the first time. IFLScience. 2014.“cosmic-web”-first-time/. Accessed 30 Oct 2018.


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
1. Government Accountability Office. DCPS: Attorneys’ Fees for Access to Special Education Opportunities. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2002.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
1. Garatli AA. What are the necessary skills for leading an online business in Saudi Arabia? Doctoral dissertation. Pepperdine University; 2014.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
1. Leland J. Was It ‘Normal New York City Conversation’? Did Trump Speak Fast? New York Times. 2017;:A23.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1, 2].
This sentence cites four references [1–4].

About the journal

Full journal titleBMC Cancer
AbbreviationBMC Cancer
ISSN (online)1471-2407
ScopeCancer Research

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