How to format your references using the Comparative Effectiveness Research citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Comparative Effectiveness Research. 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
Wykes T. Cognitive remediation therapy needs funding. Nature. 468(7321), 165–166 (2010).
A journal article with 2 authors
Buyx A, Tait J. Ethics. Ethical framework for biofuels. Science. 332(6029), 540–541 (2011).
A journal article with 3 authors
Xiong Q, Mukherjee S, Furey TS. GSAASeqSP: a toolset for gene set association analysis of RNA-Seq data. Sci. Rep. 4, 6347 (2014).
A journal article with 7 or more authors
He Y, Chen WF, Yu WB, Ouyang G, Yang GW. Anomalous interface adhesion of graphene membranes. Sci. Rep. 3, 2660 (2013).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Cochetti R. Mobile Satellite Communications Handbook. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
García-Moncó JC, editor. CNS Infections: A Clinical Approach. Springer, London.
A chapter in an edited book
Hartline J, Sharp A. An Incremental Model for Combinatorial Maximization Problems. In: Experimental Algorithms: 5th International Workshop, WEA 2006, Cala Galdana, Menorca, Spain, May 24-27, 2006. Proceedings. Àlvarez C, Serna M (Eds.), Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 36–48 (2006).

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 Comparative Effectiveness Research.

Blog post
Andrew E. How To Capture The Violent Tumult Of Our Roiling Universe, Moment By Moment [Internet]. IFLScience (2016). 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. Secure Flight: TSA Should Take Additional Steps to Determine Program Effectiveness. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Dillon M. Active aging program for older adults with early stage dementia. (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
Sisario B. Future Hits No. 1 on Billboard Chart. New York Times, C3 (2017).

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

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 titleComparative Effectiveness Research
AbbreviationJ. Comp. Eff. Res.
ISSN (print)2042-6305
ISSN (online)2042-6313
ScopeHealth Policy

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