How to format your references using the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) (CMAJ). 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
Begley CG. Six red flags for suspect work. Nature. 2013 May 23;497(7450):433–4.
A journal article with 2 authors
Kaleeba JAR, Berger EA. Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus fusion-entry receptor: cystine transporter xCT. Science. 2006 Mar 31;311(5769):1921–4.
A journal article with 3 authors
Froese T, Iizuka H, Ikegami T. Embodied social interaction constitutes social cognition in pairs of humans: a minimalist virtual reality experiment. Sci Rep. 2014 Jan 14;4:3672.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Lin F, Markus IM, Doeff MM, Xin HL. Chemical and structural stability of lithium-ion battery electrode materials under electron beam. Sci Rep. 2014 Jul 16;4:5694.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bragg SM. The New CEO Corporate Leadership Manual. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2011.
An edited book
Crandall KA, Lagergren J, editors. Algorithms in Bioinformatics: 8th International Workshop, WABI 2008, Karlsruhe, Germany, September 15-19, 2008. Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2008. XIII, 396 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science; vol. 5251).
A chapter in an edited book
Groundwater-Smith S, Irwin J. Action Researchaction research in Educationeducation and Social Worksocial work. In: Markauskaite L, Freebody P, Irwin J, editors. Methodological Choice and Design: Scholarship, Policy and Practice in Social and Educational Research. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2011. p. 57–69.

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 CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Blog post
Andrew E. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2015 [cited 2018 Oct 30]. Unburnable Carbon: Why We Need To Leave Fossil Fuels In The Ground. 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. Space Acquisitions: Uncertainties in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Program Pose Management and Oversight Challenges. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2008 Sep. Report No.: GAO-08-1039.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Casco D. Consonance: An inter play of music and design to evoke curiosity and awareness of our musical identity [Doctoral dissertation]. [Long Beach, CA]: California State University, Long Beach; 2014.

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
Kenigsberg B. Fangs, Fur and Plenty of Firepower. New York Times. 2017 Jan 6;C4.

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 titleCMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)
ISSN (print)0820-3946
ISSN (online)1488-2329
ScopeGeneral Medicine

Other styles