How to format your references using the South African Medical Journal citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for South African Medical Journal. 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
Grove EA. Neuroscience. Organizing the source of memory. Science 2008;319(5861):288–9.
A journal article with 2 authors
Kormendy J, Bender R. Supermassive black holes do not correlate with dark matter haloes of galaxies. Nature 2011;469(7330):377–80.
A journal article with 3 authors
Wittkopp PJ, Haerum BK, Clark AG. Evolutionary changes in cis and trans gene regulation. Nature 2004;430(6995):85–8.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Booth JA, Thomassen GOS, Rowe AD, Weel-Sneve R, Lagesen K, Kristiansen KI, et al. Tiling array study of MNNG treated Escherichia coli reveals a widespread transcriptional response. Sci Rep 2013;3:3053.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Sharon M, Sharon M. Graphene. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2015.
An edited book
Sako H, Franke KY, Saitoh S, editors. Computational Forensics: 4th International Workshop, IWCF 2010, Tokyo, Japan, November 11-12, 2010, Revised Selected Papers. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2011.
A chapter in an edited book
Kuś Z, Nawrat A. Object Tracking in a Picture during Rapid Camera Movements. In: Nawrat A, Kuś Z, editors. Vision Based Systemsfor UAV Applications. Heidelberg: Springer International Publishing; 2013. page 77–91.

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 South African Medical Journal.

Blog post
Fang J. Oldest Human Genome Sequenced Reveals Neanderthal Mixing. IFLScience2014;


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. Intellectual Property: Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2010.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Manzano D. The benefits of fall intervention programs for older adults: A grant proposal. 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
Giordano MA, Phillips AM. Mayor Hits Nerve in Remarks On Class Sizes and Teachers. New York Times2011;A19.

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 titleSouth African Medical Journal
AbbreviationS. Afr. Med. J.
ISSN (print)0256-9574
ISSN (online)2078-5135
ScopeGeneral Medicine

Other styles