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AMA Style Guide

The documentation style recommended by the American Medical Association (AMA) is widely used for writing in the biomedical sciences.

The current 11th edition of the AMA Manual of Style is available:


  • In AMA style, the list of works cited is called “References.”
  • Number your references at the end of your document in the order they first appear in the text; do not alphabetize.
  • Use the author’s surname followed by initials and without periods in reference lists.
  • List all authors if six or less, otherwise list the first three followed by “et al.”
  • Journal titles are abbreviated as shown in the National Library of Medicine Catalog.

In Text Citations

See AMA Manual of Style, Citation, section 3.6

Superscript numbers

Cite each reference in text, figures, tables, or boxes with a superscript number, in the order first cited. Place superscript numbers after a comma or period, but before a semicolon or colon. Use the same superscript number each time you refer to that same source.


The 2 largest studies to date included 26 patients2 and 18 patients.3

Author’s name used in the sentence

See AMA Manual of Style, Authors, section 3.7

Use only the author’s surname when referring to them in your text. When there are 2 authors, list them both. For references with more than 2 authors or authors and a group, include the first author’s surname followed by “et al,” “and coauthors,” or “and colleagues.”


Doe7 reported on the survey.

Doe and Roe8 reported on the survey.

Doe et al9 reported on the survey.

Direct Quote

See AMA Manual of Style, References, Citation, section 3.6

When citing a direct quote, include the page number after the citation superscript number.


Smith claims that “without knowledge of AMA style, most medical scholars will find it difficult to publish.”2(p21)

Reference Lists


Journals Articles

See AMA Manual of Style, Complete Data, section 3.11.1

Online Journal Article with DOI

Obama B. United States health care reform: progress to date and next steps. JAMA. 2016;316(5):525-532. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.9797

Note: Use a DOI instead of a URL whenever one is provided. No accessed date is required when using a DOI.

Online Journal Article without DOI

Obama BH. Presidential policy directive: national preparedness. Bull Am Coll Surg. 2015;100(1Suppl):10-13. Accessed August 24, 2020.

Print Journal Article

Rainier S, Thomas D, Tokarz D, et al. Myofibrillogenesis regulator 1 gene mutations cause paroxysmal dystonic choreoathetosis. Arch Neurol. 2004;61(7):1025-1029.

News Publications

 See AMA Manual of Style section 3.13.1

Newspaper Article

Perez-Pena R. Children in shelters hit hard by asthma. New York Times. March 2, 2004. Accessed March 2, 2004.

Note: Use section and/or pages in place of URL If citing a print newspaper.


See AMA Manual of Style, Complete Data, section 3.12.1

Entire Print Book

Etzel RA, Balk SJ, eds. Pediatric Environmental Health. American Academy of Pediatrics; 2011.

Edited Book

Adkinson NF Jr, Bochner BS, Burks W, et al, eds. Middleton’s Allergy: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Saunders; 2014.

Chapter in a Book

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.

Government Report or Corporate Author

World Health Organization. Equitable access to essential medicines: a framework for collective action. Published March 2004. Accessed December 6, 2005.


See AMA Manual of Style, Electronic Books, section 3.12.11

Entire eBook

Kasper DL, Fauci AS, Longo DL, Hauser SL, Jameson JL, Loscalzo J, eds. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. McGraw-Hill; 2015:chap 32. Accessed February 10, 2016.

Chapter in an edited eBook

Sudarsky L. Gait and balance disorders. In: Kasper DL, Fauci AS, Longo DL, Hauser SL, Jameson JL, Loscalzo J, eds. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. McGraw-Hill; 2015:chap 32. Accessed February 10, 2016.

Personal Communications

See AMA Style Manual section 3.13.10

Personal communications should not be included in the list of references but can be cited in the text if used judiciously. Documentation should be provided to support personal communication; oral communication should be supported in writing.


According to a letter from H. E. Marman, MD, in August 2015 …

Similar findings have been noted by Roberts6 and by H. E. Marman, MD (email, August 15, 2015).

According to the manufacturer (H. R. Smith, PhD, Pharma International, written communication, May 1, 2015), the drug became available in Japan in January 2014.


See AMA Manual of Style section 3.14

Smith R. Evidence-Based Medicine: An Oral History. The JAMA Network and the BMJ. 2014. Accessed October 14, 2016.

Moyers B. On Our Own Terms: Moyers on Dying. DVD. Thirteen/WNET; 2000.


See AMA Manual of Style, Websites, section 3.15.3

International Society for Infectious Diseases. ProMED-mail. Accessed February 10, 2016.

Charlton G. Internal linking for SEO: examples and best practices. SearchEngineWatch. Accessed February 10, 2016.

Recommendations for primary care practice. US Preventive Services Task Force. Accessed March 9, 2019.

Legal References

Because legal citations are complex,  the AMA refers writers to the latest edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

Questions & Help

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