How to format your references using the BMJ Quality & Safety citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for BMJ Quality & Safety. 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
Smith O. Biomedicine. Nota bene. In the nic of time. Science 2001;294:2118.
A journal article with 2 authors
Scholes RJ, Noble IR. Climate change. Storing carbon on land. Science 2001;294:1012–3.
A journal article with 3 authors
Halpin A, Johnson PJM, Miller RJD. Comment on ‘Engineering coherence among excited states in synthetic heterodimer systems’. Science 2014;344:1099.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Ellwood BB, Benoist SL, El Hassani A, et al. Impact ejecta layer from the mid-Devonian: possible connection to global mass extinctions. Science 2003;300:1734–7.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Hanzo L, Maunder RG, Wang J, et al. Near-Capacity Variable-Length Coding. Chichester, UK: : John Wiley & Sons, Ltd 2010.
An edited book
Chuvieco E, editor. Earth Observation of Global Change: The Role of Satellite Remote Sensing in Monitoring the Global Environment. Dordrecht: : Springer Netherlands 2008.
A chapter in an edited book
Ferner RE, Evans DGR, Huson SM. Clinical Quiz: Diagnostic and Management Pitfalls of Neurocutaneous Disease. In: Huson SM, Evans DGR, eds. Neurofibromatoses in Clinical Practice. London: : Springer 2011. 141–7.

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 Quality & Safety.

Blog post
Fang J. Largest Ever Yellow Hypergiant Star Spotted. 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
Government Accountability Office. Reuse of Municipal Wastewater and Development of New Technology: Emphasis and Direction Needed. Washington, DC: : U.S. Government Printing Office 1978.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Skinner M. Enamel -dentine junction morphology of extant hominoid and fossil hominin lower molars. 2008.

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
Kenigsberg B. Film Series. New York Times. 2017;:C22.

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 Quality & Safety
AbbreviationBMJ Qual. Saf.
ISSN (print)2044-5415
ISSN (online)2044-5423

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