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. Kaufman AJ. Geology. The calibration of Ediacaran time. Science. 2005;308:59–60.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Gandhi SP, Stevens CF. Three modes of synaptic vesicular recycling revealed by single-vesicle imaging. Nature. 2003;423:607–13.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Whitcome KK, Shapiro LJ, Lieberman DE. Fetal load and the evolution of lumbar lordosis in bipedal hominins. Nature. 2007;450:1075–8.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Wang H, Keum JK, Hiltner A, Baer E, Freeman B, Rozanski A, et al. Confined crystallization of polyethylene oxide in nanolayer assemblies. Science. 2009;323:757–60.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Kim Y-H. Sound Propagation. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2010.
An edited book
1. Melillo G, editor. Hypoxia and Cancer: Biological Implications and Therapeutic Opportunities. New York, NY: Springer; 2014.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Jou JYH, Fu LF, Lin AY. The Ethical Decision Making of Marketing Professionals in Taiwan. In: Chebat J-C, Oumlil AB, editors. Proceedings of the 1998 Multicultural Marketing Conference. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2015. p. 24–9.

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. Andrew E. Greedy Galaxy is Getting Bigger. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2015.


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. [Federal Policies and Practices for Acquiring Information Technology Can Be Improved]. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1984 Jun. Report No.: 124890.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Voss J. Supported housing program for severely mentally ill homeless individuals: A grant proposal [Doctoral dissertation]. [Long Beach, CA]: California State University, Long Beach; 2013.

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. Kelly C. Higher Profile for a Little-Known Foundation. New York Times. 2000 Jun 4;14WC8.

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)

Other styles