How to format your references using the BMC Public Health citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for BMC Public Health. 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. Lea DW. Palaeoclimate: Climate sensitivity in a warmer world. Nature. 2015;518:46–7.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Moussion C, Girard J-P. Dendritic cells control lymphocyte entry to lymph nodes through high endothelial venules. Nature. 2011;479:542–6.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Krishnan M, Ugaz VM, Burns MA. PCR in a Rayleigh-Bénard convection cell. Science. 2002;298:793.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Sikes HD, Smalley JF, Dudek SP, Cook AR, Newton MD, Chidsey CE, et al. Rapid electron tunneling through oligophenylenevinylene bridges. Science. 2001;291:1519–23.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Rogers DW. Concise Physical Chemistry. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2010.
An edited book
1. Vega L, editor. Empires, Post-Coloniality and Interculturality: New Challenges for Comparative Education. Rotterdam: SensePublishers; 2014.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Agmon T, Sjögre S. Government Intervention to Promote Radical Ideas and VC Funds as a Functional Form to Facilitate Their Financing. In: Sjögren S, editor. Venture Capital and the Inventive Process: VC Funds for Ideas-Led Growth. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK; 2016. p. 49–64.

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 Public Health.

Blog post
1. Andrew E. Scientists Create World’s Thinnest Light Bulb Using Graphene. 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. Software Capability Evaluation: VA’s Software Development Process Is Immature. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1996.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Balakrishnan G. Cognitive radio cooperative spectrum sensing. 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. Wagner J. Yankees Ride Out Chapman’s Latest Turbulence and Rebuff the Mets Again. New York Times. 2017;: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 Public Health
AbbreviationBMC Public Health
ISSN (online)1471-2458
ScopePublic Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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