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
Kaiser D. The search for clean cash. Nature. 2011 Apr 7;472(7341):30–1.
A journal article with 2 authors
Kump LR, Barley ME. Increased subaerial volcanism and the rise of atmospheric oxygen 2.5 billion years ago. Nature. 2007 Aug 30;448(7157):1033–6.
A journal article with 3 authors
Soukoulis CM, Linden S, Wegener M. Physics. Negative refractive index at optical wavelengths. Science. 2007 Jan 5;315(5808):47–9.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Byrne JA, Pedersen DA, Clepper LL, Nelson M, Sanger WG, Gokhale S, et al. Producing primate embryonic stem cells by somatic cell nuclear transfer. Nature. 2007 Nov 22;450(7169):497–502.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Wong BP, Mittal A, Cao Y, Starr G. Nano-CMOS Circuit and Physical Design. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2005.
An edited book
Dion P, editor. Soil Biology and Agriculture in the Tropics. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2010. XIII, 350 p. 21 illus. (Soil Biology; vol. 21).
A chapter in an edited book
Alapati SR, Kuhn D, Padfield B. Monitoring System Performance. In: Kuhn D, Padfield B, editors. Oracle Database 11g Performance Tuning Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach. Berkeley, CA: Apress; 2011. p. 113–45.

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. How Spiders Spin Electrically Charged Threads [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. FAA Work Forces: Important Decisions Affecting Staff Use and Management. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1993 Jun. Report No.: T-RCED-93-59.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Cardillo-Geller L. Renegotiating relationships, patterns of grief and experiences of support: An examination of mothers’ relationships with their daughters following daughters’ loss of a husband in the September 11 th, 2001 World Trade Center attacks [Doctoral dissertation]. [New York, NY]: Columbia University; 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
Schwartz J. Duane Graveline, Forced Out as Astronaut, Dies at 85. New York Times. 2016 Sep 18;A24.

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