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
Gavaghan H. Emerging fields of basic chemistry in Europe. Nature 2000; 406: 811–2.
A journal article with 2 authors
Teagle D, Ildefonse B. Journey to the mantle of the Earth. Nature 2011; 471: 437–9.
A journal article with 3 authors
Zaimi K, Ishak A, Pop I. Boundary layer flow and heat transfer over a nonlinearly permeable stretching/shrinking sheet in a nanofluid. Sci Rep 2014; 4: 4404.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Krojer T, Garrido-Franco M, Huber R, Ehrmann M, Clausen T. Crystal structure of DegP (HtrA) reveals a new protease-chaperone machine. Nature 2002; 416: 455–9.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lui SH. Numerical Analysis of Partial Differential Equations. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011.
An edited book
Lardier C. The Soyuz Launch Vehicle: The Two Lives of an Engineering Triumph. New York, NY: Springer, 2013.
A chapter in an edited book
Matthews CH, Schenkel MT, Hechavarria DM. Family Background and Influence on Nascent Entrepreneurs. In: Curtin RT, Reynolds PD, eds. New Firm Creation in the United States: Initial Explorations with the PSED II Data Set. New York, NY: Springer, 2009: 51–67.

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
Andrew E. New Solar Cell Breaks World Record For Efficiency. IFLScience. 2013; published online Oct 3. (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. Customs Automation: Duties and Other Collections Vulnerable to Fraud and Abuse. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Hooper KJ. Los Angeles School Police Department Arrest Diversion: A Process Evaluation. 2017.

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
Rosenberg E. Doctor Is Charged in Death After an Abortion. New York Times. 2016; : A21.

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