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. Gibson JM. Materials science. Solving amorphous structures--two pairs beat one. Science. 2012;335:929–30.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Wagner WR, Griffith BP. Reconstructing the lung. Science. 2010;329:520–2.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Costello MJ, May RM, Stork NE. Response to comments on “Can we name Earth’s species before they go extinct?” Science. 2013;341:237.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Sil AK, Maeda S, Sano Y, Roop DR, Karin M. IkappaB kinase-alpha acts in the epidermis to control skeletal and craniofacial morphogenesis. Nature. 2004;428:660–4.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Simon P, Brousse T, Favier F. Supercapacitors Based on Carbon or Pseudocapacitive Materials. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2017.
An edited book
1. Remondino F, Stoppa D, editors. TOF Range-Imaging Cameras. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2013.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Lucas JC, Schroeder D, Chennells R, Chaturvedi S, Feinholz D. Sharing Traditional Knowledge: Who benefits? Cases from India, Nigeria, Mexico and South Africa. In: Schroeder D, Cook Lucas J, editors. Benefit Sharing: From Biodiversity to Human Genetics. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2013. p. 65–93.

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 D. What Your Pee And Poo Colour Says About Your Health. IFLScience. 2016.


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. Coordination of Government Research and Development. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1976.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Cline D. Criminal faces: Clinical experiences of forensic artists. Doctoral dissertation. Pacifica Graduate Institute; 2012.

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. Greenhouse L. Justices Ready to Answer Detainee Rights Question. New York Times. 2007;:A32.

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