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
Walmsley IA, Raymer MG. Applied physics. Toward quantum-information processing with photons. Science. 2005 Mar 18;307(5716):1733–4.
A journal article with 3 authors
Storch D, Marquet PA, Gaston KJ. Ecology. Untangling an entangled bank. Science. 2005 Feb 4;307(5710):684–6.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Stuber N, Forster P, Rädel G, Shine K. The importance of the diurnal and annual cycle of air traffic for contrail radiative forcing. Nature. 2006 Jun 15;441(7095):864–7.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Akers RM. Lactation and the Mammary Gland. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing Company; 2016.
An edited book
Lorrain P. Magneto-Fluid Dynamics: Fundamentals and Case Studies of Natural Phenomena. Lorrain F, Houle S, editors. New York, NY: Springer; 2006. XXX, 319 p. 70 illus. (Astronomy and Astrophysics Library).
A chapter in an edited book
Pamies-Juarez L, Oggier F, Datta A. Data Insertion and Archiving in Erasure-Coding Based Large-Scale Storage Systems. In: Hota C, Srimani PK, editors. Distributed Computing and Internet Technology: 9th International Conference, ICDCIT 2013, Bhubaneswar, India, February 5-8, 2013 Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2013. p. 47–68. (Hutchison D, Kanade T, Kittler J, Kleinberg JM, Mattern F, Mitchell JC, et al., editors. Lecture Notes 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 CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Blog post
Evans K. 8 Amazing Tricks That Seem To Break The Laws Of Science [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. Claims of Civilian Employees Who Were Overpaid per Diem while Attending Training Schools. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1978 Aug. Report No.: B-190014.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Deutsch D. Increased mental health services for the homeless [Doctoral dissertation]. [Long Beach, CA]: California State University, Long Beach; 2010.

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
Brantley B. Whistling a Happy Tune in a Perverse Universe. New York Times. 2017 Feb 14;C7.

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