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
Favero I. Optomechanics: Listening to quantum grains of sound. Nature 2015;520(7548):441–2.
A journal article with 2 authors
Sanderson WC, Scherbov S. Average remaining lifetimes can increase as human populations age. Nature 2005;435(7043):811–3.
A journal article with 3 authors
Gutfreund Y, Zheng W, Knudsen EI. Gated visual input to the central auditory system. Science 2002;297(5586):1556–9.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Lefèvre F, Bertaux JL, Clancy RT, Encrenaz T, Fast K, Forget F, et al. Heterogeneous chemistry in the atmosphere of Mars. Nature 2008;454(7207):971–5.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Marteel-Parrish AE, Abraham MA. Green Chemistry and Engineering. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc; 2013.
An edited book
Hauschild MZ, Huijbregts MAJ, editors. Life Cycle Impact Assessment. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2015.
A chapter in an edited book
Jansen C, Göbe F, Noll T. Generating Inductive Predicates for Symbolic Execution of Pointer-Manipulating Programs. In: Giese H, König B, editors. Graph Transformation: 7th International Conference, ICGT 2014, Held as Part of STAF 2014, York, UK, July 22-24, 2014. Proceedings. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2014. page 65–80.

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
Luntz S. Greenland Largely Melted 400,000 Years Ago [Internet]. IFLScience2014 [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. Computer Operations: FAA Needs to Implement an Effective Capacity Management Program. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1991.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Tabak S. Aspiring States at the International Court of Justice. 2015;

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
Herrman J. An Election Ill Timed for Media in Transition. New York Times2016;B1.

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