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
Owens B. Stroke. Nature. 2014 Jun 26;510(7506):S1.
A journal article with 2 authors
Pennycook SJ, Kalinin SV. Microscopy: Hasten high resolution. Nature. 2014 Nov 27;515(7528):487–8.
A journal article with 3 authors
Mungall JE, Ames DE, Hanley JJ. Geochemical evidence from the Sudbury structure for crustal redistribution by large bolide impacts. Nature. 2004 Jun 3;429(6991):546–8.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Huang G, Hou C, Shao Y, Wang H, Zhang Q, Li Y, et al. Highly strong and elastic graphene fibres prepared from universal graphene oxide precursors. Sci Rep. 2014 Feb 28;4:4248.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Hanzo L, Keller T. OFDM and MC-CDMA. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2006.
An edited book
Bocquet-Appel J-P, Bar-Yosef O, editors. The Neolithic Demographic Transition and its Consequences. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2008. XI, 542 p.
A chapter in an edited book
Weiss SM, Indurkhya N, Zhang T. Information Retrieval and Text Mining. In: Indurkhya N, Zhang T, editors. Fundamentals of Predictive Text Mining. London: Springer; 2015. p. 81–96. (Texts in Computer Science).

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. Here’s Why LSD Microdosing Could Be The Next Major Breakthrough In Mental Healthcare [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2017 [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. Consumer Finance: Factors Affecting the Financial Literacy of Individuals with Limited English Proficiency. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2010 May. Report No.: GAO-10-518.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Shen F-Y. A pedagogical and analytic comparison of Auguste Franchomme’s twelve Caprices, op. 7 and Alfredo Piatti’s twelve Caprices, op. 25 [Doctoral dissertation]. [Cincinnati, OH]: University of Cincinnati; 2009.

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
Dorman JL. Damien Chazelle on Los Angeles and Its Charms. New York Times. 2017 Feb 8;TR2.

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

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