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AMA Citation Guide

AMA in-text and reference list guideline

AMA In-Text Citation and Reference List Guidelines

  • Reference to information that is retrievable is appropriately made in the reference list.
  • Each reference should be cited in the text, figures, tables, or boxes in consecutive numerical order using a superscript number.
  • Each reference cited should have its own unique superscript number identifier, though a reference can be cited multiple times throughout a paper using the unique superscript number. 
  • Use the superscript numbers outside periods and comma and inside colons and semicolons. 
  • When more than 2 references are cited at a given place in a paper, use hyphens to join the first and last numbers of a closed series; use commas without space to separate other parts of a multiple citation.
  • Do not use a citation after a number or unit of measure so there is no confusion with exponents. 
  • References should be listed in numerical order at the end of the manuscript in the reference list.

Example of In-Text Citation and Reference List

In-Text Citation and Reference List Example

The following example is taken from chapter 3.1 of the AMA manual 11th edition to demonstrate how in-text citations work and what a reference list might look like.

 In-Text Citation From AMA Manual of Style 11th Edition 

In 2013, the Uniform Requirements was renamed to the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals (or ICMJE Recommendations).3

Suggested formats for bibliographic style have been developed for uniformity by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) and are available as sample references on the NLM website in the document “Samples of Formatted References for Authors of Journal Articles,”4 as mentioned in the ICMJE Recommendations. Details for this document, including “fuller citations and explanations,” are provided in Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers,5 which is also published by the NLM and is frequently updated. The recommended style is based on the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) standard for Bibliographic References, ANSI/NISO Z39.29-2005 (R2010),6 and the NLM has adapted these standards for scientific material in its databases.

These documents3,4,5,6 (see Box 3.1-1) are intended to aid authors in the preparation of their manuscripts for publication and are not meant to dictate reference style to journal editors, although many journal editors have modified their reference styles to more or less follow these guidelines.3

Corresponding Reference List

1. Meyer CA. Reference accuracy: best practices for making the links. J Electron Publ. 2008. doi:10.3998/3336451.0011.206

2. On citing well. Nat Chem Biol. 2010;6(2):79. doi:10.1038/nchembio.310

3. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals. Updated December 2018. Accessed June 23, 2019.

4. Samples of formatted references for authors of journal articles. National Library of Medicine. Updated May 25, 2016. Accessed August 5, 2016. https://www-nlm-nih-gov/bsd/uniform_requirements.html

5. Patrias K, Wendling DL, eds. Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. 2nd ed. National Library of Medicine; 2007-. Updated October 2, 2015. Accessed August 11, 2016.

6. ANSI/NISO Z39. 29-2005 (R2010) Bibliographic References. National Information Standards Organization. Approved June 9, 2005, by the American National Standards Institute; reaffirmed May 13, 2010. Accessed August 5, 2016.

Citation for copied section:

Fisher L,  Frank P. References. In: AMA Manual of Style Committee. AMA Manual of Style Online: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 11th ed. Oxford University Press; 2020: ch 3.1. Accessed June 16, 2020.