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
Ruttimann J. Cell mates. Nature 2007;450:756–7.
A journal article with 2 authors
Kosaka Y, Xie S-P. Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling. Nature 2013;501:403–7.
A journal article with 3 authors
Fialkov A, Barkana R, Visbal E. The observable signature of late heating of the Universe during cosmic reionization. Nature 2014;506:197–9.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Patolsky F, Timko BP, Yu G, et al. Detection, stimulation, and inhibition of neuronal signals with high-density nanowire transistor arrays. Science 2006;313:1100–4.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Chase CW Jr. Demand-Driven Forecasting. Hoboken, NJ: : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2013.
An edited book
Marcus A, editor. Design, User Experience, and Usability. Theory, Methods, Tools and Practice: First International Conference, DUXU 2011, Held as Part of HCI International 2011, Orlando, FL, USA, July 9-14, 2011, Proceedings, Part I. Berlin, Heidelberg: : Springer 2011.
A chapter in an edited book
Otnes R, Asterjadhi A, Casari P, et al. Routing. In: Asterjadhi A, Casari P, Goetz M, et al., eds. Underwater Acoustic Networking Techniques. Berlin, Heidelberg: : Springer 2012. 63–83.

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
O`Callaghan J. This 46-Billion-Pixel View Of The Milky Way Is The Largest Space Image Ever Created. IFLScience. 2015. (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. Law Enforcement: Information on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Gang Reporting, Evaluation, and Tracking System. Washington, DC: : U.S. Government Printing Office 1992.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Equihua D. The relationship of mental health and family factors to parental involvement in their children’s education among Latina mothers. 2010.

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
Davey M, Walsh MW. Chicago Sees Pension Crisis Drawing Near. New York Times. 2013;:A1.

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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