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
Ryan MJ. Replication in field biology: the case of the frog-eating bat. Science. 2011 Dec 2;334(6060):1229–30.
A journal article with 2 authors
Louf R, Barthelemy M. How congestion shapes cities: from mobility patterns to scaling. Sci Rep. 2014 Jul 3;4:5561.
A journal article with 3 authors
Woosley SE, Blinnikov S, Heger A. Pulsational pair instability as an explanation for the most luminous supernovae. Nature. 2007 Nov 15;450(7168):390–2.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Reich PB, Hobbie SE, Lee T, Ellsworth DS, West JB, Tilman D, et al. Nitrogen limitation constrains sustainability of ecosystem response to CO2. Nature. 2006 Apr 13;440(7086):922–5.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Hogan K. The Secret Language of Business. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2008.
An edited book
Toponogov VA. Differential Geometry of Curves and Surfaces: A Concise Guide. Rovenski VY, editor. Boston, MA: Birkhäuser; 2006. XIV, 206 p. 70 illus.
A chapter in an edited book
Bishop C. Domestic Violence: The Limitations of a Legal Response. In: Hilder S, Bettinson V, editors. Domestic Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Protection, Prevention and Intervention. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK; 2016. p. 59–79.

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
Andrew E. Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Could Be Suitable For Primitive Life [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2015 [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. Use of Department of Education Title III Grant Funds by the International Institute of the Americas of World University. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1984 Apr. Report No.: HRD-84-20.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Lurz JP. Using Simplified Models and Limited-Horizon Planning to React to Time-Critical Problems [Doctoral dissertation]. [Washington, DC]: George Washington University; 2019.

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
Saslow L. Montauk Yacht Club Sold for $34 Million. New York Times. 2007 Apr 15;LI2.

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