How to format your references using the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 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. Savage N. Algae: The scum solution. Nature. 2011;474:S15-6.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Treseder KK, Holden SR. Ecology. Fungal carbon sequestration. Science. 2013;339:1528–9.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Shiono M, Matsugaki N, Takeda K. Phytochemistry: structure of the blue cornflower pigment. Nature. 2005;436:791.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Liu J, Liao M, Imura M, Tanaka A, Iwai H, Koide Y. Low on-resistance diamond field effect transistor with high-k ZrO2 as dielectric. Sci Rep. 2014;4:6395.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Grinshpan L. Solving Enterprise Applications Performance Puzzles. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2012.
An edited book
1. Pyr’yev Y. Nonsmooth Dynamics of Contacting Thermoelastic Bodies. New York, NY: Springer; 2009.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Sykes AV, Koueta N, Rosas C. Historical Review of Cephalopods Culture. In: Iglesias J, Fuentes L, Villanueva R, editors. Cephalopod Culture. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2014. p. 59–75.

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 Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Blog post
1. Andrew E. Busting Myths: A Practical Guide To Countering Science Denial. IFLScience. 2015.


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. Aircraft Development: The Advanced Tactical Fighter’s Costs, Schedule, and Performance Goals. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1988.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Stanford V. Finding theatre from within: Augusto Boal’s Games for Non-Actors in an Introduction to Acting class. Doctoral dissertation. California State University, Long Beach; 2016.

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. Grynbaum MM, Koblin J. TV Host ‘Ashamed’ of Lewd Chat With Trump. New York Times. 2016;:A12.

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 Complementary and Alternative Medicine
AbbreviationBMC Complement. Altern. Med.
ISSN (online)1472-6882
ScopeGeneral Medicine
Complementary and alternative medicine

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