criteria for publication in biomedical journals


The touchstone for unique criteria for paper publication in biomedical journals was defined in 1978 in Vancouver. These criteria for manuscript publication, including the rules for writing bibliographies were first published in 1979. In time, the Vancouver group has grown into the International Committee of Medical Journals Editors (ICMJE). Currently, 5 revision criteria are in power for publication of papers in biomedical journals that came into being in 1997.


Criteria for citation and reference writing


References are marked in Arabic numbers in brackets. They are indicated with numbers in the order in which they appear in the text. References cited only in tables or legends should be marked with number in accordance with the order they appear in the text.

Names of medical journals should be typed in abbreviated forms as indicated in the part List of Journals Indexed in Index Medicus. The list of abbreviated names of medical journals is released every year in the January Issue of Index Medicus. This list can also be found at

Avoid using abstracts as references, but use only texts as sources (in extenso articles). References related to already accepted papers for publication which have not yet been published in printed form should be marked with “in print”, where the author must have a written consent to cite such papers and accordingly submit written proof that the cited paper has been accepted for publication. Information from the manuscript that has not been accepted for publication can be cited in the text as “unpublished results”, but with the written proof of the author.

Avoid citing previous announcements (personal communication) if they do not provide essential results that have not been published before. In this case, it is necessary to write the name of the person and the date of the oral announcement of results in brackets. In order to publish such data, it is necessary to obtain the written proof of the author.


Criteria for writing references used in the paper


The rules and regulations for writing literature references for the most frequently used types of publications will be dealt with in this review.


Journal articles


1. Standard journal articles

Cite first six authors; if there are more than six use the abbreviation et al.

Vega KJ, Pina I, Krevsky B. Heart transplantation is associated with an increased risk for pancreatobiliary disease. Ann Intern Med 1996; 124(11):980-3.
Parkin DM, Clayton D, Black RJ, Masuyer E, Friedl HP, Ivanov E, et al. Childhood—leukaemia in Europe after Chernobyl: 5 year follow-up. Br J Cancer 1996;73:1006-12.


2. Organization as the author

The Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. Clinical exercise stress testing. Safety and performance guidelines. Med J Aust 1996;164:282-4.


3. Article without the author

Cancer in South Africa (editorial). S Afr Med J 1994;84:15.


4. Volume with supplement

Payne DK, Sullivan MD, Massie MJ. Women's psychological reactions to breast cancer. Semin Oncol 1996;23(1 Suppl 2):89-97.


5. Number with supplement

Payne DK, Sullivan MD, Massie MJ. Women's psychological reactions to breast cancer. Semin Oncol 1996;23(1 Suppl 2):89-97.


6. Volume with several parts

Ozben T, Nacitarhan S, Tuncer N. Plasma and urine sialic acid in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Ann Clin Biochem 1995;32(Pt 3):303-6.


7. Number with several parts

Poole GH, Mills SM. One hundred consecutive cases of flap lacerations of the leg in ageing patients. N Z Med J 1994;107(986 Pt 1):377-8.


8. Journals with a number without a volume

Turan I, Wredmark T, Fellander-Tsai L. Arthroscopic ankle arthrodesis in rheumatoid arthritis. Clin Orthop 1995;(320):110-4.


9. Journals without a volume and a number

Browell DA, Lennard TW. Immunologic status of the cancer patient and the effects of blood transfusion on antitumor responses. Curr Opin Gen Surg 1993:325-33.


10. References in abstract form or previous announcements

Enzensberger W, Fischer PA. Metronome in Parkinson's disease (letter)  Lancet 1996;347:1337.

Clement J, De Bock R. Hematological complications of hantavirus nephropathy (HVN) (abstract). Kidney Int 1992;42:1285.



Books and monographs


11. Monograph

Ringsven MK, Bond D. Gerontology and leadership skills for nurses. 2nd ed. Albany (NY): Delmar Publishers; 1996.


12. Authors as editors

Norman IJ, Redfern SJ, editors. Mental health care for elderly people. New York: Churchill Livingstone; 1996.


13. Organization as the author and publisher

Institute of Medicine (US). Looking at the future of the Medicaid program. Washington: The Institute; 1992.


14. Book chapter

Phillips SJ, Whisnant JP. Hypertension and stroke. In: Laragh JH, Brenner BM, editors. Hypertension: pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management. 2nd ed. New York: Raven Press; 1995. p. 465-78.


15. Conference proceedings

Kimura J, Shibasaki H, editors. Recent advances in clinical neurophysiology. Proceedings of the 10th International Congress of EMG and Clinical Neurophysiology; 1995 Oct 15-19; Kyoto, Japan. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1996.


16. Conference paper

Bengtsson S, Solheim BG. Enforcement of data protection, privacy and security in medical informatics. In: Lun KC, Degoulet P, Piemme TE, Rienhoff O, editors. MEDINFO 92. Proceedings of the 7th World Congress on Medical Informatics; 1992 Sep 6-10; Geneva, Switzerland. Amsterdam: North-Holland; 1992. p. 1561-5.


17. Research or technical reports


Issued by funding/sponsoring agency:

Smith P, Golladay K. Payment for durable medical equipment billed during skilled nursing facility stays. Final report. Dallas (TX): Dept. of Health and Human Services (US), Office of Evaluation and Inspections; 1994 Oct. Report No.: HHSIGOEI69200860.

Issued by performing agency:

Field MJ, Tranquada RE, Feasley JC, editors. Health services research: work force and educational issues. Washington: National Academy Press; 1995. Contract No.: AHCPR282942008. Sponsored by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research.


18. Master’s and Doctoral Theses

Kaplan SJ. Post-hospital home health care: the elderly's access and utilization [dissertation]. St. Louis (MO): Washington Univ.; 1995.


Other published material


Unpublished material


19. In press

 Leshner AI. Molecular mechanisms of cocaine addiction. N Engl J Med. In press 1996.



Electronic records


20. Internet article in electronic format

Morse SS. Factors in the emergence of infectious diseases. Emerg Infect Dis (serial online) 1995 Jan-Mar “cited 1996 Jun 5”; 1(1)(24 screens). Available from: URL:


21. Monograph in electronic format

CDI, clinical dermatology illustrated (monograph on CD-ROM). Reeves JRT, Maibach H. CMEA Multimedia Group, producers. 2nd ed. Version 2.0. San Diego: CMEA; 1995.


22. Computer data

Hemodynamics III: the ups and downs of hemodynamics (computer program). Version 2.2. Orlando (FL): Computerized Educational Systems; 1993.