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. Pockley P. Funding bonanza for astronomy and biotech in Australia. Nature. 2001;412:846.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Sarafianos SG, Arnold E. Biochemistry. RT slides home. Science. 2008;322:1059–60.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Doncaster CP, Pound GE, Cox SJ. The ecological cost of sex. Nature. 2000;404:281–5.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Tumbula DL, Becker HD, Chang WZ, Söll D. Domain-specific recruitment of amide amino acids for protein synthesis. Nature. 2000;407:106–10.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Lee KB. Principles of Microelectromechanical Systems. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2011.
An edited book
1. Wohlers TE. Setting Sail into the Age of Digital Local Government: Trends and Best Practices. 1st ed. 2016. Bernier LL, editor. Boston, MA: Springer US; 2016.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Gong Z, Lin Y, Yao T. Two-Tuple Linguistic Preference Relations. In: Lin Y, Yao T, editors. Uncertain Fuzzy Preference Relations and Their Applications. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2013. p. 75–91.

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. Luntz S. Grocery Store Powered By Food Waste. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2014.


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. Tax Systems Modernization: IRS Needs to Resolve Certain Issues With Its Integrated Case Processing System. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1997 Jan. Report No.: GGD/AIMD-97-31.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Cady SC. Successful student goal completion: A community college case study [Doctoral dissertation]. [Minneapolis, MN]: Capella University; 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. Burghardt LF. Ready for Their Close-Up, a Couple Consults. New York Times. 2005 Oct 9;14LI12.

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