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American Medical Association (AMA) Citation Style

Reference Lists: general guidance

References should be numbered consecutively at the end of the manuscript (or PowerPoint) with arabic numerals in the order in which they are cited in the text.

References to material not yet accepted for publication or to personal communications (oral, written, or email) are not acceptable as listed references and instead should be included parenthetically in the text.

Author name(s):

  • Use the author’s surname followed by initials without periods.
  • Names of all authors should be given unless there are more than 6, in which case the names of the first 3 authors are used followed by “et al.”
  • Roman numerals and abbreviations for Junior (Jr) and Senior (Sr) follow authors’ initials.
  • The JAMA Network journals prefer II, III, and IV, unless the author prefers arabic numerals.

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In titles of articles, books, parts of books, and other material, retain the spelling, abbreviations, and style for numbers used in the original. 

In English-language titles:

  • Italicize the titles of books, government bulletins, documents, and pamphlets
  • Capitalize
    • The first letter of each major word
    • Proper names
    • Names of clinical trials or study groups (eg, Community health worker home visits for adults with uncontrolled asthma: the HomeBASE Trial randomized clinical trial)
    • Abbreviations that are ordinarily capitalized (eg, DNA, EEG, VDRL)
    • Two-letter verbs (Is, Be)
  • Do not capitalize
    • Articles, prepositions of 3 or fewer letters (as, off, out, per, up, via)
    • Coordinating conjunctions (and, or, for, nor, but, yet, so)

Do not enclose article and book chapter titles in quotation marks. However, if a book, book chapter, or article title contains quotation marks in the original, retain them as double quotation marks (unless both double and single quotation marks are used).

Subtitles

Style for subtitles follows that for titles (see 3.9, Titles) for spelling, abbreviations, numbers, capitalization, and use of italics, except that for journal articles the subtitle begins with a lowercase letter.

Non-English Titles

Non-English titles may be given as they originally appeared, without translation.

If non–English-language titles are translated into English, indication of the original language should follow the title.

  • Example: Shimura M. Looking to the future: treatment for retinal vascular disease. Article in Japanese. Nippon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi. 2014;118(11):905-906.

If the non–English-language title and the translation are provided, both may be given. In the example below, the article was published in 3 languages, and all translations are provided.

  • Example: Becerra-Posada F, Hennis A, Lutter C. Prevention of childhood obesity through trilateral cooperation. Prevención de la obesidad infantil a través de una cooperación trilateral. Prévention de l’obésité infantile grâce à la coopération trilatérale. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2016;40(2):76-77.

References: examples

If you access material in electronic format, then AMA requires that you use these electronic citation styles.

Electronic citations will include:

  • DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and/or
  • URL and the date the material was published, updated, and viewed

DOI is preferred over URL when available because it is a stable link. Most electronic journal articles will include a DOI (but electronic books and websites rarely will). 

To use a DOI, omit the URL, access date, and publication date. In place of this information, add the DOI (preceded by a "doi:" label). The rest of the citations should remain the same.

Online journal article format:

Author(s). Title. Journal Name [using National Library of Medicine abbreviations as mentioned above]. Year;vol(issue no.):inclusive pages. URL [provide the URL in this field; no need to use “URL:” preceding it]. Published [date]. Updated [date]. Accessed [date].

Example:

Drake AJ, Smith A, Betts PR, et al. Type 2 diabetes in obese white children. Arch Dis Child. 2002;86(3), 207-208. http://vsearch.nlm.nih.gov/vivisimo/cgi-bin/query-meta?v:project=nlm-main-website&query=Archives+of+disease+in+childhood. Accessed April 5, 2015.

Electronic book format: 

Author(s). Chapter title. In: Editor(s). Book Title. [Edition number, if it is the second edition or above; mention of first edition is not necessary] ed. City, State (or country) of publisher: Publisher’s name; copyright:inclusive pages. URL [provide URL and verify that the link still works as close as possible to the time of publication]. Accessed [date].

Note: If the reference is to the entire book, do not include information about chapter title and inclusive pages.

Example (book chapter):

Prince M, Glozier N, Sousa R, Dewey M. Measuring disability across physical, mental, and cognitive disorders. In: Regier DA, Narrow WE, Kuhl EA, Kupfer DJ, eds. The Conceptual Evolution of DSM-5. American Psychiatric Publishing Inc; 2011:189-227.

Example (entire book):

Koplan JP, Liverman CT, Kraak VA.  Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance. Washington, DC: National Academies Institute of Medicine; 2005. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11015/preventing-childhood-obesity-health-in-the-balance. Accessed April 7, 2015.

Example (entire book, edited):

Brunton LL, Blumenthal DK, Murri N, Hilal-Danden R, Knollmann BC, eds. Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 12th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2011. http://www.accesspharmacy.com.libproxy.usc.edu/resourceToc.aspx?resourceID=28. Accessed November 4, 2012.

Example (summary from UpToDate database):

Townsend, RR. Major side effects of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers. In: Post T, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA.: UpToDate; 2016. www.uptodate.com. Accessed March 24, 2016.

Cite the UpToDate topic review as a chapter in a book titled UpToDate, edited by T.W. Post, published by UpToDate in Waltham, MA. As an online service, there are no page numbers to cite. Since UpToDate is updated every four months, the publication year for any topic review should be the current year.

Example (book from Lexicomp database: one author/editor):

Bragalone DL, ed. Drug Information Handbook for Oncology. 11th ed. Hudson, Ohio. Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, Inc.; 2013:765-8.

Example (book from Lexicomp database: no authors):
Drug Information Handbook. 22th ed. Hudson, Ohio. Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, Inc.; 2013:1143-7.

In citing data from a website, include the following elements, if available, in the order shown:

  • Authors’ surnames and initials, if given (the names of all authors should be given unless there are more than 6, in which case the names of the first 3 authors are used, followed by “et al”), or name of the group
  • Title of the specific item cited (if none is given, use the name of the organization responsible for the site)
  • Name of the website
  • [Date published] 
  • Updated [date]
  • Accessed [date]
  • URL (verify that the link still works as close as possible to publication)

Note: Dates are in month, day, year format, e.g., June 5, 2020

Website format:

Author(s), if given (often, no authors are given). Title of the specific item cited (if none is given, use the name of the organization responsible for the site). Name of the website. URL [provide URL and verify that the link still works as close as possible to publication]. Published [date]. Updated [date]. Accessed [date].

Example (website):

How to Protect Yourself & Others. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html. Published April 24, 2020. Accessed June 5, 2020.

In citing data from an online database, include the following elements, if applicable, in the order shown:

  • Authors’ surnames and initials, if given (the names of all authors should be given unless there are more than 6, in which case the names of the first 3 authors are used, followed by “et al”), or name of the group
  • Title of the database
  • Publisher, or database owner or host
  • Year of publication and/or version number
  • Updated [date]
  • Accessed [date]
  • URL (verify that the link still works as close as possible to publication)

Additional notes that might be helpful or of interest to the reader (eg, date the site was updated or modified) may also be included.

Note: Dates are in month, day, year format, e.g., June 5, 2020

Example (summary from UpToDate database):

Cite the UpToDate topic review as a chapter in a book titled UpToDate, edited by T.W. Post, published by UpToDate in Waltham, MA. As an online service, there are no page numbers to cite. Since UpToDate is updated every four months, the publication year for any topic review should be the current year.

Townsend, RR. Major side effects of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers. In: Post T, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA.: UpToDate; 2016. www.uptodate.com. Accessed March 24, 2016.

Example (Lexicomp):

Which citation format you use, depends on what type of Lexicomp information you are citing (e.g. book, software, database).

  • Use the database format for information from databases such as Lexi-Drugs, Pediatric and Neonatal Lexi-Drugs, AHFS Essentials, AHFS DI, Geriatric Lexi-Drugs, Briggs Drugs in Preganacy and Lactation, Pharmacogenomics, Infectious Diseases, Lexi-Tox.
  • Use the book format for information from books within Lexicomp (e.g., Martindale,