How to format your references using the Bulletin of the World Health Organization citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
Kysar D. Supreme Court ruling is good, bad and ugly. Nature. 2011 Jun 21;474(7352):421.
A journal article with 2 authors
Höfling S, Kavokin A. Solid-state physics: A historic experiment redesigned. Nature. 2014 Oct 16;514(7522):313–4.
A journal article with 3 authors
Wearn OR, Reuman DC, Ewers RM. Extinction debt and windows of conservation opportunity in the Brazilian Amazon. Science. 2012 Jul 13;337(6091):228–32.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Rowland HM, Ihalainen E, Lindström L, Mappes J, Speed MP. Co-mimics have a mutualistic relationship despite unequal defences. Nature. 2007 Jul 5;448(7149):64–7.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Omura G, Benton BC. Mastering AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT. Indianapolis, Indiana: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2017.
An edited book
Lyons P, editor. Obstetrics in Family Medicine: A Practical Guide. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press; 2006. X, 222 p. (Current Clinical Practice).
A chapter in an edited book
Dillane D, Tsui BCH. Use of Nerve Stimulation and Stimulating Catheters in the Ultrasound Era. In: Peng P, editor. Regional Nerve Blocks in Anesthesia and Pain Therapy: Traditional and Ultrasound-Guided Techniques. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2015. p. 57–65.

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 Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

Blog post
Taub B. Learning Music Gives Kids Extra Brain Connections [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2016 [cited 2018 Oct 30]. Available from:


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. Opportunities to Improve Planning for Solar Energy Research and Development. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1976 Nov. Report No.: EMD-77-8.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Gamez TE. Preventing child maltreatment among children with non-resident fathers: A grant proposal [Doctoral dissertation]. [Long Beach, CA]: California State University, Long Beach; 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
Hubbard B. Smiling as Syria Burns, Assad Remains Secure in Power and Impunity. New York Times. 2016 Sep 17;A10.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in parentheses:

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 titleBulletin of the World Health Organization
AbbreviationBull. World Health Organ.
ISSN (print)0042-9686
ISSN (online)1564-0604
ScopePublic Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Other styles