How to format your references using the BMJ citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for BMJ. 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
Schenk PM. Thickness constraints on the icy shells of the galilean satellites from a comparison of crater shapes. Nature 2002;417:419–21.
A journal article with 2 authors
1
Nagamatsu S, Ohara-Imaizumi M. Cell biology. IP7 debut in insulin release. Science 2007;318:1249–50.
A journal article with 3 authors
1
Vannucchi P, Remitti F, Bettelli G. Geological record of fluid flow and seismogenesis along an erosive subducting plate boundary. Nature 2008;451:699–703.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
1
Sengupta S, Eavarone D, Capila I, et al. Temporal targeting of tumour cells and neovasculature with a nanoscale delivery system. Nature 2005;436:568–72.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1
Bunnell T. From World City to the World in One City. Chichester, UK: : John Wiley & Sons, Ltd 2016.
An edited book
1
Borowitzka MA, Beardall J, Raven JA, editors. The Physiology of Microalgae. 1st ed. 2016. Cham: : Springer International Publishing 2016.
A chapter in an edited book
1
Okitsu K. Sonochemical Synthesis of Metal Nanoparticles. In: Ashokkumar M, ed. Theoretical and Experimental Sonochemistry Involving Inorganic Systems. Dordrecht: : Springer Netherlands 2011. 131–50.

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 BMJ.

Blog post
1
Hale T. Mice Have Been A Close Companion Of Humans For 15,000 Years. IFLScience. 2017.https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/mice-have-been-a-close-companion-of-humans-for-15000-years/ (accessed 30 Oct 2018).

Reports

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. Involvement of the Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, in the Development of an Information System Called the College Suggestor. Washington, DC: : U.S. Government Printing Office 1971.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1
Komatsuzaki T. Borrowing constraints and the business cycle in emerging markets. 2012.

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
Kanter J. An Olio of E.U. Rules, Leading to Food Fights. 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 titleBMJ
AbbreviationBMJ
ISSN (print)0959-8138
ISSN (online)1756-1833
Scope

Other styles