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. Ledford H. Ahead of the pack. Nature. 2009;459:286–7.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Bina CR, Navrotsky A. Possible presence of high-pressure ice in cold subducting slabs. Nature. 2000;408:844–7.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Tanjeem N, Kawazoe T, Yatsui T. CO2 phonon mode renormalization using phonon-assisted energy up-conversion. Sci Rep. 2013;3:3341.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Juodkazis S, Mukai N, Wakaki R, Yamaguchi A, Matsuo S, Misawa H. Reversible phase transitions in polymer gels induced by radiation forces. Nature. 2000;408:178–81.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Rezg N, Hajej Z, Boschian-Campaner V. Production and Maintenance Optimization Problems. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2016.
An edited book
1. Azzopardi L, Kazai G, Robertson S, Rüger S, Shokouhi M, Song D, et al., editors. Advances in Information Retrieval Theory: Second International Conference on the Theory of Information Retrieval, ICTIR 2009 Cambridge, UK, September 10-12, 2009 Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2009.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Law M, Carr DG, Vogel SC. Materials for the Nuclear Energy Sector. In: Kearley GJ, Peterson VK, editors. Neutron Applications in Materials for Energy. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2015. p. 61–82.

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. Davis J. Is Commercial Fishing Driving The Evolution Of Fish? 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. Partial Report-in-Depth Investigation Into Independent Research and Development and Bid and Proposal Programs. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1974.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Bravo J. Project Share: Implementing an aftercare program for recovering adolescents: A grant proposal. Doctoral dissertation. California State University, Long Beach; 2009.

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. de la MERCED MJ. Investors Give $90 Million To a Flying Car Start-Up. New York Times. 2017;:B2.

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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