How to format your references using the BMC Research Notes citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for BMC Research Notes. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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. Medlyn BE. Comment on “Drought-induced reduction in global terrestrial net primary production from 2000 through 2009.” Science. 2011;333:1093; author reply 1093.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. LaDeau SL, Clark JS. Rising CO2 levels and the fecundity of forest trees. Science. 2001;292:95–8.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. van Den Brink GR, de Santa Barbara P, Roberts DJ. Development. Epithelial cell differentiation--a Mather of choice. Science. 2001;294:2115–6.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Li Q, Xu DZ, Cai CY, Sun CP. Recoil effects of a motional scatterer on single-photon scattering in one dimension. Sci Rep. 2013;3:3144.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Burghardt G, Walls B. Managed Futures for Institutional Investors. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2011.
An edited book
1. Roberts F. Lee’s Ophthalmic Histopathology. 3rd ed. 2014. London: Springer; 2014.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Yadav SS, Stevenson PC, Rizvi AH, Manohar M, Gailing S, Mateljan G. Uses and Consumption. In: Yadav SS, McNeil DL, Stevenson PC, editors. Lentil: An Ancient Crop for Modern Times. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2007. p. 33–46.

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 Research Notes.

Blog post
1. Andrew E. Researchers Use Genetic Switch To Reverse Leukemia In Mice. IFLScience. 2014. 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. National Transportation Safety Board: Progress Made in Management Practices, Investigation Priorities, Training Center Use, and Information Security, But These Areas Continue to Need Improvement. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2008.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Smith B. Analysis of hydraulic and financial operations of a recycled water system: A case study of the Orange County water district’s green acres project. Doctoral dissertation. California State University, Long Beach; 2013.

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. Walsh MW. S.E.C. Suggests Reforms Of Municipal Bond Market. New York Times. 2012;:B1.

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 Research Notes
AbbreviationBMC Res. Notes
ISSN (online)1756-0500
ScopeGeneral Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
General Medicine

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