This guide is based on the book Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. NLM also provides a Samples of Formatted References for quick reference.
There are several ways to list references and citations, but this guide is intended to provide a standardized format for the ICMJE Recommendations.
- List references at the end of sentences or phrases inside parentheses. Example (1, 4-6).
- List author names with the author’s last name followed by initials (maximum of 2 initials) and separate author names from each other by a comma and a space. Example: Fanning D, Bickett SN.
- List all authors regardless of number.
- Retain the spelling, abbreviations, and style for numbers used in the original article title, book title, parts of book, or other material.
- For journal article titles and chapter titles in books, capitalize only the first letter of the first word in a title and subtitle.
- For journal titles and book titles, capitalize all main words.
- Journal titles are abbreviated, but books are not.
- Reference the most specific part when possible, such as the monograph within the online database.
- Use English names for months and abbreviate them using the first three letters, such as Jan.