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Physician Assistant Capstone Project: AMA Tips and Tricks

AMA (American Medical Association) Manual of Style

You will be using the AMA citation style. You can find information about how to correctly format in-text citations and you list of reference in the 11th Edition of the AMA Manual of Style.

Journals (Complete Data)

The basic format for an online journal in the AMA (American Medical Association) citation style is presented below. The following information has been taken from the 11th Edition of the AMA Manual Style. The examples of citations below come from this manual as well as online library guides by other librarians. You can also link the the Manual of Style Committee's original chapter about online journals here: AMA Manual of Style: 3.11 (References to Journal Articles) 

A complete reference to a journal article includes the following:

  • Authors’ surnames and initials
    • 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”)
  • Title of article
    • If the article has a subtitle, include it after a colon
  • Abbreviated name of journal
    • See 13.10, Abbreviations, Names of Journals)
  • Year
    • If published online ahead of time and has yet to appear in paginated version of the journal, use the "published online" date.
  • Volume number
  • Issue number
  • Part or supplement number, when pertinent
  • Location (page[s] or e-locator)
    • An e-locator may be an epage or special hyperlink
  • DOI (if supplied)
    • If not supplied, use the URL and an accessed date

Note

  • When using the AMA citation style, you should use the NNLM (National Library of Medicine) Journal Abbreviations for your citations. Not every journal has an NNLM abbreviation, but many will.  Search this Journal Abbreviation List for your publication's abbreviation.
  • Note: the AMA citation style is the same as the JAMA citation style.  This is because the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is produced by the American Medical Association (AMA), which is the creator of the AMA citation style. Sometimes citation/reference mangers will only give you the option to set your style to JAMA.  If you are looking to output your citations in AMA style, you may select the JAMA option.

Online Journals (DOIs and URLs)

The basic format for an online journal in the AMA (American Medical Association) citation style is presented below. The following information has been taken from the 11th Edition of the AMA Manual Style. The examples of citations below come from this manual as well as online library guides by other librarians. You can also link the the Manual of Style Committee's original chapter about online journals here: AMA Manual of Style: 3.11.4 (Online Journals, Preprints, and Manuscripts) 

When the DOI is provided, it is preferable to use the DOI rather than the URL.

  • A DOI (digital object identifier) provides persistent, unique identification.
  • Because of this permanent quality, if it is available, include the DOI in your references.
  • Read more about DOIs on the foundation's website at https://www/doi.org/.

If a DOI is available, the basic format for a reference to an article in an online journal is as follows. 

  • Note: for the DOI, use "doi:” preceding it and do not end it with a period punctuation mark.
  • Also, if you are using a DOI, you do not need to (and should not) include an accessed date.
Author(s). Title. Journal Name AbbreviationYear;vol(issue No.):inclusive pages. doi:xx.xx
Kitajima TS, Kawashima SA, Watanabe Y. The conserved kinetochore protein shugoshin protects centromeric cohesion during meiosis. Nature. 2004;427(6974):510-517. doi:10.1038/nature02312
Morrison G, Van Langenberg DR, Gibson SJ, Gibson PR. Chronic pain in,inflammatory bowel disease: characteristics and associations of a hospital-based cohort. Inflamm Bowel Dis2013;19(6):1210-1217. doi:10.1097/MIB.0b013e318280e729

If a DOI is not available, the basic format for reference to an article in an online journal is as follows. 

  • Note: when you use a URL, there is no need to use "URL:" preceding it. 
  • Also, when you use a URL, you should include an accessed date.
Author(s). Title. Journal Name Abbreviation. Year;vol(issue No.):inclusive pages. URL [insert date]. Accessed [insert date].
Duchin JS. Can preparedness for biological terrorism save us from pertussis? Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med2004;158(2):106-107. http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/158/2/106. Accessed June 6, 2019.
Hay PJ. Understanding bulimia. Aust Fam Physician2007;36(9):708-712. http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/200709/18554. Accessed June 1, 2019.
  • If including a URL in a reference citation, use the URL that will take the reader directly to the article; do not include a long search string, and also avoid a short, more general URL (eg, one to the publisher’s homepage). Always include “http://” or “https://” before the URL to help ensure proper linking; most sites with “http://” have changed to the more secure “https://” and note that URLs do not always require “www.” The URL is not followed by a period. Verify that the link still works as close as possible to publication. For examples of good and bad URLs, click here.

Print Journals

Print journals have a similar format. The only difference between an online citation is the lack of a DOI or URL and when the online journal was published or accessed. 

  • Note: the year, volume, and issue number are what have traditionally been used to indicate when the print article was published. â€‹Because objects on the web are less stable, especially if they are URLs, accessed dates are important.
  • The published, updated, and accessed date are only used for online literature, whose content and location on the Web may be more dynamic.
  • DOIs are favored because they are also more stable. DOIs are even eliminating the need to include accessed dates (see above) for the items that have been assigned them.
Author(s). Title. Journal Name AbbreviationYear;vol(issue No.):inclusive pages.
Rainer S, Thomas D, Tokarz D, et al. Myofibrillogenesis regulator 1 gene mutations cause paroxysmal dystonic choreoathetosis. Arch Neurol. 2004; 61(7):1025-1029.

Online vs. Print Journals

If the same article is available both in print and online, there is no need to use the print version over the online version.  In fact, including the DOI or URL will be useful to your reader, especially if this is for a class assignment and your audience is your professor. It makes it easier for people reading your paper to link to the source material.

The nature of online publishing technologies, particularly the ability to hyperlink between literature, is changing traditional reference standards.  In many journals that simultaneously publish their content in print and online, the print version will not include the DOIs for the citations in the reference list.  Even if those cited articles do have DOIs, they (and their long character strings) will probably be omitted from the print version. This is because they serve no purpose in print. Online, however, these DOIs can act as links you to the items that are being referenced by the author of the article you were just reading.

Print Version
Deeks JJ, Smith LA, Bradley MD. Efficacy, tolerability, and upper gastrointestinal safety of celecoxib for treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. 2002;325(7365):619-623. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/325/7365/619. Accessed June 6, 2019.
Online Version (URL):
Deeks JJ, Smith LA, Bradley MD. Efficacy, tolerability, and upper gastrointestinal safety of celecoxib for treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. 2002;325(7365):619-623. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/325/7365/619. Accessed June 6, 2019.

Notice, the only difference is that the reference for the online version has a URL and an Accessed Date. If it had a DOI, adding the doi would be the only difference between the print and online version
.

Websites

There’s no perfect way to cite a web resource. The idea is to give as much information as you have – especially enough for the person reading the paper to know how to get their hands on the item so they can review it themselves. Some of your website citations might look bare, but it might be unavoidable if you only have a few identifying components to work with.


The following comes directly from the AMA Manual of Style: 3.15.3 (Websites)

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

  • Authors’ surnames and initials, (if names are given)
    • If not given, use the 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] (if given)
  • Updated [date] (if given)
  • Accessed [date]
  • URL (verify that the link still works as close as possible to publication)

*  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”)

The AMA Style committee recognizes that websites do not always provide consistent information.  Unlike books, there are no standards for the creation of something like a uniformly used title page. The acknowledge that it is difficult to construct the reference for a website, but that it is best to use as much relevant information as possible. This includes published date (if available), updated date (if it was updated), and when you accessed it. If you see an updated date, but not the original published date, use just the updated date. If a website is continually updated, you may only find the original published date. Always include the Accessed Date.

Another more concise way to put it would be as follows:

Author(s) or responsible body. Title of the item cited. Name of website. Published [insert date]. Updated [insert date]. Accessed [insert date]. URL. 
International Society for Infectious Diseases. ProMED-mail. Accessed February 10, 2016. http://www.promedmail.org
Charlton G. Internal linking for SEO: examples and best practices. SearchEngineWatch. Accessed February 10, 2016. https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2428041/internal-linking-for-seo-examples-and-best-practices
Zika travel information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. January 26, 2016. Updated August 11, 2016. Accessed June 18, 2019. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information
Sample size calculation. Grapentine Co Inc. Accessed December 6, 2005. http://www.grapentine.com/calculator.htm
  Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights & Law Program. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Accessed June 18, 2019. https://www.aaas.org/program/scientific-responsibility-human-rights-law
Recommendations for primary care practice. US Preventive Services Task Force. Accessed March 9, 2019. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/recommendations
Carlson SJ. Step up your activity to help lower risk of diabetes. Mayo Clinic website. Published June 4, 2015. Update July 2, 2016. Accessed August 20, 2017. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/expert-blog/lower-diabetes-risk-withactivity/bgp-20142203.

A closer look at some of the examples:

  • In example #1, the use of International Society for Infectious Diseases takes care of both the author and title requirements of the citation. In the case of authors the rule is that when no author is available you should use the name of the organization responsible for the site. In the case of titles, the rule is that if no title is available you should also use the name of the organization responsible for the site.  In this case (where the webpage/website being cited has has neither an author or a title), you only need to use the name of the organization responsible for it once. In this example, it is the International Society for infection Diseases.
  • In example #4, however, no author is given, but the name of the sponsoring organization comes after the title of the webpage content being cited. It could have been used in place of the author, because no author was available). According to some librarians, the name of the sponsoring institution (Grapentine Co. Inc) could have been used as the author instead.  But, in this example, the authors of the AMA Manual Style guide used it after the title of the content on the webpage they were citing.
  • In example #7, the Mayo Clinic named the author. It also named the website as belonging to the Mayo Clinic.
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