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
C.A. Sackett, Quantum physics: An atomic SQUID, Nature. 505 (2014) 166–167.
A journal article with 2 authors
A. Padhi, L. Ma, Genetic and epidemiological insights into the emergence of peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) across Asia and Africa, Sci. Rep. 4 (2014) 7040.
A journal article with 3 authors
K.A. Oye, J.C.H. Lawson, T. Bubela, Drugs: Regulate “home-brew” opiates, Nature. 521 (2015) 281–283.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Y. Zhou, R. O’Connell, P. Maguire, H. Zhang, High throughput secondary electron imaging of organic residues on a graphene surface, Sci. Rep. 4 (2014) 7032.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
J.R. Petrucelli, Detecting Fraud in Organizations, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2013.
An edited book
A.L. Hartzell, MEMS Reliability, Springer US, Boston, MA, 2011.
A chapter in an edited book
R.R.N. Alves, U.P. Albuquerque, Animals as a Source of Drugs: Bioprospecting and Biodiversity Conservation, in: R.R.N. Alves, I.L. Rosa (Eds.), Animals in Traditional Folk Medicine: Implications for Conservation, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2013: pp. 67–89.

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
E. Andrew, Black Holes are the new Dark Matter Laboratories, IFLScience. (2015). (accessed October 30, 2018).


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, Individuals With Disabilities Education Act: School Districts’ Response to Regulatory Deadline, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1998.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
F.I. Obasi, Policy analysis of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, 2012.

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. Kelly, White House Memo; President’s Early Troubles Rooted in Party’s Old Strains, New York Times. (1993) A1.

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)

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