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
Butlin R. Comment on ‘Transitions to asexuality result in excess amino acid substitutions’. Science 2006;313:1389; author reply 1389.
A journal article with 2 authors
Selosse M-A, Rousset F. Evolution. The plant-fungal marketplace. Science 2011;333:828–9.
A journal article with 3 authors
Arita I, Nakane M, Fenner F. Public health. Is polio eradication realistic? Science 2006;312:852–4.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Pedersen BP, Buch-Pedersen MJ, Morth JP, et al. Crystal structure of the plasma membrane proton pump. Nature 2007;450:1111–4.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Avdeef A. Absorption and Drug Development. Hoboken, NJ: : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2012.
An edited book
Spaccapietra S, Bertino E, Jajodia S, et al., editors. Journal on Data Semantics II. Berlin, Heidelberg: : Springer 2005.
A chapter in an edited book
Ramos NMM, Delgado JMPQ, Almeida RMSF, et al. Case Study. In: Delgado JMPQ, Almeida RMSF, Simões ML, et al., eds. Application of Data Mining Techniques in the Analysis of Indoor Hygrothermal Conditions. Cham: : Springer International Publishing 2016. 31–6.

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
Andrew E. Australian PM Bans Solar And Wind Power Investment. IFLScience. 2015.


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. Social Security Administration: Responses to Subcommittee Questions About the On-line PEBES Service. Washington, DC: : U.S. Government Printing Office 1997.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Polk RL. Examining students with disabilities in a linked learning pathway. 2015.

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
Pilon M. U.S. Olympic Team Selected. New York Times. 2012;:D7.

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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