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
Stern P. The heavily connected brain. Connection, connection, connection... Introduction. Science 2013; 342: 577.
A journal article with 2 authors
Ricklefs RE, Bermingham E. Nonequilibrium diversity dynamics of the Lesser Antillean avifauna. Science 2001; 294: 1522–4.
A journal article with 3 authors
Bortnik J, Thorne RM, Meredith NP. The unexpected origin of plasmaspheric hiss from discrete chorus emissions. Nature 2008; 452: 62–6.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Wang J, Chen L, Li L, et al. Preliminary identification of palaeofloods with the alkane ratio C31/C17 and their potential link to global climate changes. Sci Rep 2014; 4: 6502.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Zhang S-L. Raman Spectroscopy and its Application in Nanostructures. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2012.
An edited book
Probst CW, Hankin C, Hansen RR, editors. Semantics, Logics, and Calculi: Essays Dedicated to Hanne Riis Nielson and Flemming Nielson on the Occasion of Their 60th Birthdays, 1st ed. 2016. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2016.
A chapter in an edited book
Edge D, Blackwell AF. Peripheral Tangible Interaction. In: Bakker S, Hausen D, Selker T, eds. Peripheral Interaction: Challenges and Opportunities for HCI in the Periphery of Attention. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2016: 65–93.

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
Fang J. Most Kangaroos Are Left-Handed. IFLScience. 2015; published online June 19. (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. Chemical Assessments: Challenges Remain with EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System Program. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2011.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Farnham RB. Processing and inpainting of sparse data as applied to atomic force microscopy imaging. 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
Adkins M. The Race to Beat ‘Best Before’. New York Times. 2014; : MB3.

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