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. Rickaby R. Journal club. A biogeochemist weighs up the climatic influence of CO2. Nature. 2010;465:849.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Brodsky EE, Lajoie LJ. Anthropogenic seismicity rates and operational parameters at the Salton Sea Geothermal Field. Science. 2013;341:543–6.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Smith SJ, Wigley TM, Edmonds J. CLIMATE: A New Route Toward Limiting Climate Change? Science. 2000;290:1109–10.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Dina C, Meyre D, Samson C, Tichet J, Marre M, Jouret B, et al. Comment on “A common genetic variant is associated with adult and childhood obesity.” Science. 2007;315:187; author reply 187.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Jevon P. Paediatric Advanced Life Support. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.; 2012.
An edited book
1. Lavini C. Chirurgia Toracica Videoassistita. Milano: Springer; 2006.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Kühn T, Paraoanu GS. Electronic and Thermal Sequential Transport in Metallic and Superconducting Two-Junction Arrays. In: Bârsan V, Aldea A, editors. Trends in Nanophysics: Theory, Experiment and Technology. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2010. p. 99–131.

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. Fang J. Hungry Bats Jam Each Other’s Sonar Signals. IFLScience. 2014.


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. Northeast Rail Corridor: Information on Users, Funding Sources, and Expenditures. 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. Littlefield S. Application of Discrete Event Simulation to Modeling Reliability of Highly Parallel Systems with Common Cause Failures. Doctoral dissertation. George Washington University; 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. Abad S, Casey N. Francis Honors 2 Clerics Slain in Colombian Civil War. New York Times. 2017;:A7.

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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