How to format your references using the The Lancet citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for The Lancet. 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
Cortada X. Genome-sequencing anniversary. Painting the genome for the public. Science 2011; 331: 548.
A journal article with 2 authors
Cooper KM, Kent AJR. Rapid remobilization of magmatic crystals kept in cold storage. Nature 2014; 506: 480–3.
A journal article with 3 authors
Kotera E, Tasaka M, Shikanai T. A pentatricopeptide repeat protein is essential for RNA editing in chloroplasts. Nature 2005; 433: 326–30.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Anand A, Sharma NK, Singh R, et al. Does DcR1 (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing-ligand Receptor 3) have any role in human AMD pathogenesis? Sci Rep 2014; 4: 4114.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Callard F, Sartorius N, Arboleda-Flórez J, et al. Mental Illness, Discrimination and the Law. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2012.
An edited book
Corsi C, Slapšak B, Vermeulen F, editors. Good Practice in Archaeological Diagnostics: Non-invasive Survey of Complex Archaeological Sites. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2013.
A chapter in an edited book
Athanasiadou S, Houdijk JGM. Nutrition and Immunity in Animal Disease: Lessons from Parasitic Gastroenteritis. In: Watson RR, Zibadi S, Preedy VR, eds. Dietary Components and Immune Function. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press, 2010: 63–74.

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 The Lancet.

Blog post
Davis J. What Lives At The Bottom Of The Mariana Trench? IFLScience. 2016; published online May 5. (accessed Oct 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. Science And Technology: Air Force’s Planning Process Meets Statutory Requirement. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2002.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Culver MD. Assessing the influence of emotional intelligence on effective fire service leadership. 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
Gordon M. A Boy’s Fate. New York Times. 2016; : BR1.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in superscript:

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 titleThe Lancet
ISSN (print)0099-5355
ISSN (online)1474-547X
ScopeGeneral Medicine

Other styles