How to format your references using the Trials citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Trials. 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
1. Cully M. Public health: The politics of antibiotics. Nature. 2014;509:S16-7.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Hennessy ET, Betley TA. Complex N-heterocycle synthesis via iron-catalyzed, direct C-H bond amination. Science. 2013;340:591–5.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Krasnoshchekov DN, Kaazik PB, Ovtchinnikov VM. Seismological evidence for mosaic structure of the surface of the Earth’s inner core. Nature. 2005;435:483–7.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Xu X, Makovicky PJ, Wang Xl X-L, Norell MA, You Hl H-L. A ceratopsian dinosaur from China and the early evolution of Ceratopsia. Nature. 2002;416:314–7.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. American Counseling Association. The ACA Encyclopedia of Counseling. Alexandria, VA, USA: American Counseling Association; 2015.
An edited book
1. Rapoport A, Zwick R, editors. Experimental Business Research: Economic and Managerial Perspectives VOLUME II. Boston, MA: Springer US; 2005.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Zoitl A, Kainz G, Keddis N. Production Plan-Driven Flexible Assembly Automation Architecture. In: Mařík V, Lastra JLM, Skobelev P, editors. Industrial Applications of Holonic and Multi-Agent Systems: 6th International Conference, HoloMAS 2013, Prague, Czech Republic, August 26-28, 2013 Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2013. p. 49–58.

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 Trials.

Blog post
1. Fang J. Daddy Longlegs Make Glue to Trap Springy Prey [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2014 [cited 2018 Oct 30]. Available from:


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
1. Government Accountability Office. Railroad Safety: Human Factor Accidents and Issues Affecting Engineer Work Schedules. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1993 Jul. Report No.: RCED-93-160BR.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Hume DM. The reader as collaborator in Coleridge’s fragments “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, “Christabel,” and “Kubla Khan”: Kindling “Native flames” rather than reflecting “Alien fires” [Doctoral dissertation]. [Long Beach, CA]: California State University, Long Beach; 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
1. Wagner J. Hot Stove Warms Up: Cespedes Opts Out of Deal. New York Times. 2016 Nov 5;SP2.

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 titleTrials
ISSN (online)1745-6215
ScopeMedicine (miscellaneous)
Pharmacology (medical)

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