How to format your references using the Student BMJ citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Student BMJ. 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
Holmes D. A disease of growth. Nature 2015;521:S2-3.
A journal article with 2 authors
Rowland DC, Moser M-B. Neuroscience: A three-dimensional neural compass. Nature 2015;517:156–7.
A journal article with 3 authors
Brechbühl J, Klaey M, Broillet M-C. Grueneberg ganglion cells mediate alarm pheromone detection in mice. Science 2008;321:1092–5.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Thomas L, Hayashi M, Jiang X, et al. Oscillatory dependence of current-driven magnetic domain wall motion on current pulse length. Nature 2006;443:197–200.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Center for Chemical Process Safety. Inherently Safer Chemical Processes. Hoboken, NJ: : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2008.
An edited book
Dustin M, McGavern D, editors. Visualizing Immunity. Berlin, Heidelberg: : Springer 2009.
A chapter in an edited book
Probo M, Comin A, Agazzi A, et al. Effect of Dry Period Length on NEFA and IGF-I Plasma Concentrations and Postpartum Ovarian Activity Resumption in Dairy Cows. In: Pugliese A, Gaiti A, Boiti C, eds. Veterinary Science: Current Aspects in Biology, Animal Pathology, Clinic and Food Hygiene. Berlin, Heidelberg: : Springer 2012. 21–5.

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 Student BMJ.

Blog post
Andrew D. There’s No Such Thing As An ‘Addictive Personality’ – Here’s Why. IFLScience. 2016.


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. Port Development: Sponsors Have Not Used User Fee Financing to Date. Washington, DC: : U.S. Government Printing Office 1989.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Ashrafzadeh MH. Provision of community services for the mentally challenged population in Iran. 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
Borden S. How the Game Became One With the Rocket’s Red Glare. New York Times. 2016;: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 titleStudent BMJ
ISSN (print)0966-6494

Other styles