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. Nathan C. Microbiology. An antibiotic mimics immunity. Science. 2008;322:1337–8.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Messina R, Ben-Abdallah P. Graphene-based photovoltaic cells for near-field thermal energy conversion. Sci Rep. 2013;3:1383.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Kainulainen J, Federrath C, Henning T. Unfolding the laws of star formation: the density distribution of molecular clouds. Science. 2014;344:183–5.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Ren Z-Y, Ingle S, Takahashi E, Hirano N, Hirata T. The chemical structure of the Hawaiian mantle plume. Nature. 2005;436:837–40.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Jay SA. High Voltage Electricity Installations. Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2006.
An edited book
1. Evert K-J, Ballard (deceased) EB, Elsworth DJ, Oquiñena I, Schmerber J-M, Stipe (deceased) RE, editors. Encyclopedic Dictionary of Landscape and Urban Planning. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2010.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Fernandez-Breis JT, Iannone L, Palmisano I, Rector AL, Stevens R. Enriching the Gene Ontology via the Dissection of Labels Using the Ontology Pre-processor Language. In: Cimiano P, Pinto HS, editors. Knowledge Engineering and Management by the Masses: 17th International Conference, EKAW 2010, Lisbon, Portugal, October 11-15, 2010. Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2010. p. 59–73.

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. Unlocking The Secrets Of Mysterious Interstellar Molecules. IFLScience. 2014. 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. Technology Transfer: Copyright Law Constrains Commercialization of Some Federal Software. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1990.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Harper NR. The Relationship between Worry Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and True Memory, False Memory, and Metamemory. Doctoral dissertation. Southern Illinois University; 2017.

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. Vecsey G. Maybe Bradley Should Make the First Move. New York Times. 2010;:B11.

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

Other styles