How to format your references using the BMJ Quality Improvement Reports citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for BMJ Quality Improvement Reports. 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
Sohn E. Screening: Don’t look now. Nature 2015;527:S118-9.
A journal article with 2 authors
Nesbit J, Bradford M. 2009 Visualization Challenge. Science 2010;327:945–55.
A journal article with 3 authors
Ando R, Mizuno H, Miyawaki A. Regulated fast nucleocytoplasmic shuttling observed by reversible protein highlighting. Science 2004;306:1370–3.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Yuan J, Zhao X, Wang X, et al. Image decoding of photonic crystal beads array in the microfluidic chip for multiplex assays. Sci Rep 2014;4:6755.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Rim CT, Mi C. Wireless Power Transfer for Electric Vehicles and Mobile Devices. Chichester, UK: : John Wiley & Sons, Ltd 2017.
An edited book
Kwak J, Deng RH, Won Y, et al., editors. Information Security, Practice and Experience: 6th International Conference, ISPEC 2010, Seoul, Korea, May 12-13, 2010. Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: : Springer 2010.
A chapter in an edited book
Wu D, Yu X, Rao J, et al. Comparative Study on the Status and Strategies of Infrastructure Construction of ICT in Education Between China and the United States. In: Huang R, Kinshuk, Price JK, eds. ICT in Education in Global Context: Comparative Reports of Innovations in K-12 Education. Berlin, Heidelberg: : Springer 2016. 95–106.

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 Improvement Reports.

Blog post
Davis J. Why We Shouldn’t Label GMO Foods. IFLScience. 2016.


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. Major Factors Inhibit Expansion of the School Breakfast Program. Washington, DC: : U.S. Government Printing Office 1980.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Brown CP. Range vs. register: An important distinction in choral repertoire for the adolescent male. 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
Vecsey G. Torre’s Gift to All Fathers: Frank Talk About Prostate Cancer. New York Times. 2011;:SP2.

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 Improvement Reports
AbbreviationBMJ Qual. Improv. Rep.
ISSN (online)2050-1315

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