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Writing, Citing, & Publishing

Learn about resources to help you through the writing and publication process.

Citations & Style Guides

What is a style guide?

A style guide or manual of style is a set of rules and standards that writers adhere to when writing a document. These rules dictate how to format the reference list and how to cite works in the body of the paper, but they also dictate how to properly write values, abbreviate measurements, round numbers, and much more.

Why are style guides important?

To put it simply, if you want your manuscript published in a particular journal, you should follow that journal's guidelines because journals often have strict guidelines when it comes to publishing. While many biomedical journals follow some form of the AMA Manual of Style, many have their own additional requirements and preferences. Always consult the author guidelines for a particular journal before submitting. Mulford Health Science Library has a useful feature to help locate author guidelines

This guide will give you a quick run-down of how to cite your references using the American Medical Association Manual of Style.

In-text citations

Should you use footnotes? Should you cite the work in parentheses? Every citation style is different. The good news is that AMA is actually quite simple!

  • Use superscript numbers when citing your work.²
  • When using commas or semicolons³, put the superscript number inside the punctuation. Put the superscript number outside a period.³
  • When citing more than one work, use a comma to separate two numbers.3,4 You can also use a dash for bigger ranges3-6, or combine the two leaving no spaces between the numbers and punctuation.1,3-6 

The in-text citations should be in chronological order following your reference list. All citations listed in your reference list should be cited within the paper, and all citations in the paper should appear in your reference list.

 

Citing your work is a key component of any piece of scholarly communication, and correctly formatting your reference list is a step in that process.

Minimum information that must be included in references:

Journals:

Print:             

Author(s). Article title. Journal Name abbreviation. Year;vol(issue): included pages.

Online:           

Author(s). Article title. Journal Name abbreviation. Year;vol(issue): included pages. DOI (preferable) or URL. Accessed [date].

*Note: Access date not needed if DOI is provided.

Books:

Print:              

Author(s). Book Title. Edition number (if it is the 2nd edition or above). City, State (or Country) of publisher: Publisher’s name; copyright year.

Online:            

Author(s). Book Title. Edition number (if it is the 2nd edition or above). City, State (or Country) of publisher: Publisher’s name; copyright year. URL. Accessed [date].

Examples:

Online journal:         

Smith, AB, Jones, CD. How to cite references. JAMA. 2015;10(15): 100-105. doi:123456.

Harper, Z, Jacobs, LL. Citing even more references. J Writ Res. 2015;1(2): 12-18. www.fakeurl.com. Accessed December 17, 2015.

Print book:

Johnson, EF, Parker, GH. Learning How to Cite References. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL. Galter Publishing House; 2015.

Quick Tips:
  • The journal name should be italicized and abbreviated according to the NLM Journal Catalog. Single word titles such as Pediatrics are not abbreviated.
  • You do not put periods after author initials, e.g. Smith, AB NOT Smith, A.B.
  • As a general rule, you only capitalize the first word in a journal article title. Exceptions exist, e.g. always capitalize proper nouns.
  • Each major word of a book title should be capitalized.
  • When citing an online journal, the listing a DOI is preferred over providing a URL and access date. URLs change and expire, but DOIs are permanent. 

 

Updates to the Manual:

The AMA Manual of Style committee continuously updates policy guidelines; these changes will be posted here as they’re implemented. 2020 updates include: Updating to Reporting Black and White Race, citation of preprints, citation of data repositories.

Instructions for downloading and installing EndNote can be found on the NUIT website.

EndNote is bibliographic management software that allows users to manage citations in personal libraries and create bibliographies based on a number of available journal or writing styles. Using EndNote to manage your citations can save you a lot of time and frustration. View our EndNote guides or attend an EndNote class for more information.

EndNote is useful, but it is still valuable to have basic knowledge about how to format citations. For example, EndNote will not automatically place your in-text citations in the correct spot, so it is up to you to make sure you are inserting citations in the appropriate place according to the style guidelines. 

Exporting Using AMA Style

The AMA style is listed as JAMA in EndNote. Add JAMA to your output styles and you’ll be all set to create bibliographies. For more information on output styles, consult the “Creating Bibliographies” section of our EndNote for Windows and Mac guides.