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
Fischer A. Gene therapy: Repair and replace. Nature. 2014 Jun 12;510(7504):226–7.
A journal article with 2 authors
Jahn R, Fasshauer D. Molecular machines governing exocytosis of synaptic vesicles. Nature. 2012 Oct 11;490(7419):201–7.
A journal article with 3 authors
Schmitz B, Häggström T, Tassinari M. Sediment-dispersed extraterrestrial chromite traces a major asteroid disruption event. Science. 2003 May 9;300(5621):961–4.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Lee YJ, Kim D, Lee K, Chun JY. Single-channel multiplexing without melting curve analysis in real-time PCR. Sci Rep. 2014 Dec 11;4:7439.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Cayoun BA. Mindfulness-integrated CBT for Well-being and Personal Growth. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2015.
An edited book
Haltinner K, Pilgeram R, editors. Teaching Gender and Sex in Contemporary America. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2016. XVII, 456 p. 1 illus. in color.
A chapter in an edited book
Toivonen M. Social Innovations—Manifested in New Services and in New System Level Interactions. In: Kijima K, editor. Service Systems Science. Tokyo: Springer Japan; 2015. p. 83–95. (Translational Systems Sciences).

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
Carpineti A. The Wow! Signal Sorted? Not So Fast! [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. The F-14 Aircraft. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1972 Mar. Report No.: 092339.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Belletti A. Trumpet Practice: Habits and Goals [Doctoral dissertation]. [Long Beach, CA]: California State University, Long Beach; 2017.

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
Stewart JB. Justifiably, This Buck Stopped With the Chief Executive. New York Times. 2016 Oct 13;B3.

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