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
Petsko G. Save university arts from the bean counters. Nature 2010;468:1003.
A journal article with 2 authors
Farina SC, Summers AP. Biomechanics: Boxed up and ready to go. Nature 2015;517:274–5.
A journal article with 3 authors
Tang C, Iwahara J, Clore GM. Visualization of transient encounter complexes in protein-protein association. Nature 2006;444:383–6.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Reisz RR, Scott D, Sues H-D, et al. Embryos of an early Jurassic prosauropod dinosaur and their evolutionary significance. Science 2005;309:761–4.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Spiegel R. Psychopharmacology. Chichester, UK: : John Wiley & Sons, Ltd 2005.
An edited book
Buck T, Franke A, Monaghan MJ, editors. Three-dimensional Echocardiography. Second fully revised edition. Berlin, Heidelberg: : Springer 2015.
A chapter in an edited book
van Rooij ACLM, Wegner W. Numerical Investigation of the Flutter Behaviour of a Laminar Supercritical Airfoil. In: Dillmann A, Heller G, Krämer E, et al., eds. New Results in Numerical and Experimental Fluid Mechanics IX: Contributions to the 18th STAB/DGLR Symposium, Stuttgart, Germany, 2012. Cham: : Springer International Publishing 2014. 33–41.

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
Andrew D. Too Many Tabs – Why Some People Can Multitask Online And Others Can’t. IFLScience. 2017. (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. Biotechnology: Role of Institutional Biosafety Committees. Washington, DC: : U.S. Government Printing Office 1987.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Zitko JA. Effects of Random Cross-Sectioned Distributions, Fiber Misalignment and Interphases in Three-Dimensional Composite Models on Transverse Shear Modulus. 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
Walsh MW. New Puerto Rico Debt Relief Law Stirs Colonial Resentments. New York Times. 2016;:B1.

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

Other styles