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
Shevach EM. Immunology. Regulating suppression. Science 2008; 322: 202–3.
A journal article with 2 authors
Lu PJ, Steinhardt PJ. Decagonal and quasi-crystalline tilings in medieval Islamic architecture. Science 2007; 315: 1106–10.
A journal article with 3 authors
Li Z-Z, Zhang F-C, Wang Q-H. Majorana modes in a topological insulator/s-wave superconductor heterostructure. Sci Rep 2014; 4: 6363.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Nakajima K, Sena G, Nawy T, Benfey PN. Intercellular movement of the putative transcription factor SHR in root patterning. Nature 2001; 413: 307–11.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Flynn MJ, Luk W. Computer System Design. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011.
An edited book
Orrell J, Curtis DD, editors. Publishing Higher Degree Research: Making the Transition from Student to Researcher. Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2016.
A chapter in an edited book
King JA, Chaney EE. Passing for Black in Seventeenth-Century Maryland. In: Beaudry MC, Symonds J, eds. Interpreting the Early Modern World: Transatlantic Perspectives. Boston, MA: Springer US, 2011: 87–112.

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. Four Eyed Harvestman Fossil Helps Shed Light On Arachnid Evolution. IFLScience. 2014; published online April 11. (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. Basic Agreements With Educational Institutions or Nonprofit Organizations for Award of Research and Development Contracts. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Koenig WE. Leadership for the whole in the mythic field of C. G. Jung’s unconscious processes. 2010.

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
Pilon M. Before Attempting To Top Opponents, U.S. Open Players Must Beat Traffic. New York Times. 2013; : D1.

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