How to format your references using the BMC Medical Ethics citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for BMC Medical Ethics. 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. Cleary AS. Teamwork: The tumor cell edition. Science. 2015;350:1174–5.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Joanicot M, Ajdari A. Applied physics. Droplet control for microfluidics. Science. 2005;309:887–8.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Clevers H, Loh KM, Nusse R. Stem cell signaling. An integral program for tissue renewal and regeneration: Wnt signaling and stem cell control. Science. 2014;346:1248012.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Krol KM, Kamboj SK, Curran HV, Grossmann T. Breastfeeding experience differentially impacts recognition of happiness and anger in mothers. Sci Rep. 2014;4:7006.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Levin MA, Kalal TT. Improving Product Reliability. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2005.
An edited book
1. Caldwell MM, Heldmaier G, Jackson RB, Lange OL, Mooney HA, Schulze E-D, et al., editors. Plant Ecology, Herbivory, and Human Impact in Nordic Mountain Birch Forests. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2005.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Ruschhaupt A, Muga JG, Hegerfeldt GC. Detector Models for the Quantum Time of Arrival. In: Muga G, Ruschhaupt A, Campo A del, editors. Time in Quantum Mechanics - Vol. 2. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2009. p. 65–96.

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 Medical Ethics.

Blog post
1. Andrew E. Was Water Abundant In The Early Universe? IFLScience. 2015. 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. Accounting System for Research and Development, Army Natick Laboratories. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1972.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Detoya MS. Canned Food Choices of College Students Using the Nuval ® Nutrient-Profiling System. Doctoral dissertation. California State University, Long Beach; 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. Kelly DA. On Road or Trail, Navigating Made Simple. New York Times. 2006;:56.

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 Medical Ethics
AbbreviationBMC Med. Ethics
ISSN (online)1472-6939
ScopeHealth Policy
Issues, ethics and legal aspects
Health(social science)

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