How to format your references using the Contemporary Clinical Trials citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Contemporary Clinical Trials. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
A.E. Dessler, A determination of the cloud feedback from climate variations over the past decade, Science. 330 (2010) 1523–1527.
A journal article with 2 authors
R.M. O’Connor, P.J. Kenny, Neuroscience: Binge drinking and brain stress systems, Nature. 520 (2015) 168–169.
A journal article with 3 authors
J.B. Pendry, L. Martín-Moreno, F.J. Garcia-Vidal, Mimicking surface plasmons with structured surfaces, Science. 305 (2004) 847–848.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Y. Liu, A. Latremoliere, X. Li, Z. Zhang, M. Chen, X. Wang, C. Fang, J. Zhu, C. Alexandre, Z. Gao, B. Chen, X. Ding, J.-Y. Zhou, Y. Zhang, C. Chen, K.H. Wang, C.J. Woolf, Z. He, Touch and tactile neuropathic pain sensitivity are set by corticospinal projections, Nature. 561 (2018) 547–550.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
J.-P. Briffaut, E-Enabled Operations Management, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2015.
An edited book
R. Hell, C. Dahl, D. Knaff, T. Leustek, eds., Sulfur Metabolism in Phototrophic Organisms, Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 2008.
A chapter in an edited book
K. Lausdahl, Translating VDM to Alloy, in: E.B. Johnsen, L. Petre (Eds.), Integrated Formal Methods: 10th International Conference, IFM 2013, Turku, Finland, June 10-14, 2013. Proceedings, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2013: pp. 46–60.

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 Contemporary Clinical Trials.

Blog post
S. Luntz, Planet Spotted Forming In Binary System, IFLScience. (2014).


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, Internet Protocol Version 6: Federal Agencies Need to Plan for Transition and Manage Security Risks, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2005.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
V.J. Gardina, Analysis of LiDAR data for fluvial geomorphic change detection at a small Maryland stream, Doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park, 2008.

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
M.M. Chapman, A Year in the Slow Lane in a ’30 Ford, New York Times. (2011) AU1.

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 titleContemporary Clinical Trials
AbbreviationContemp. Clin. Trials
ISSN (print)1551-7144
ScopeGeneral Medicine
Pharmacology (medical)

Other styles