Appendix F: Notes for Citing MEDLINE® /PubMed®

Citing Medicine rules follow the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) recommendations. NLM practice does not always follow NISO standards in MEDLINE/PubMed citations for a variety of reasons.

The following are exceptions to NISO standards and Citing Medicine for nine citation elements found in Chapter 1A Journal Articles and Chapter 23A Journal Articles on the Internet.

1. For Author

MEDLINE/PubMed:

  • also shows the full names of authors, when available, in MEDLINE and XML displays (since 2002)
  • records the organization names as given in the journal article. There are no standardization rules
  • places editor or translator names in the author position of a citation when an author name can't be found. However, the role of "editor" or "translator" does not follow the name
  • makes a distinction between authorship and investigators (also known as collaborators). The latter were implemented in journal citations created in late March 2008 forward; they are individuals who contributed to the research study but are not necessarily authors.

MEDLINE/PubMed does not:

  • display ISO country codes following organization names of national bodies that don't include nationality in the name
  • translate non-English organizational names

Return to Chapter 1. Journals / A. Journal Articles / Author, or

Chapter 23. Journals on the Internet / A. Journal Articles on the Internet / Author

2. For Author Affiliation

MEDLINE/PubMed:

  • includes the affiliation of the first author only
  • takes the affiliation as given in the article
  • includes "USA" at the end of the affiliation for all US authors (since 1995)

MEDLINE/PubMed does not:

  • standardize the author affiliation field
  • add information about the city, state or country of an organization
  • change the order of the organization and department. The order is as the publisher gives it in the article.

Return to Chapter 1. Journals / A. Journal Articles / Author Affiliation, or

Chapter 23. Journals on the Internet / A. Journal Articles on the Internet / Author Affiliation

3. For Article Title

MEDLINE/PubMed:

  • displays only the English language title for two or more equal languages, but indicates all languages of publication
  • omits the fonts of superscripts and subscripts when they cannot be reproduced and the meaning is not compromised. For example, H20 is commonly recognized as water; however, 106 will be displayed as 10(6)

Return to Chapter 1. Journals / A. Journal Articles / Article Title, or

Chapter 23. Journals on the Internet / A. Journal Articles on the Internet / Article Title

4. For Article Type

  • MEDLINE/PubMed does not index individual meeting abstracts or book reviews
  • Letters to the editor and editorials are indicated only under publication type in the Abstract and Citation displays, and in the PT field in the MEDLINE view
  • Interviews are indicated by publication type in the Abstract and Citation displays, in the PT field in the MEDLINE view, and with an enhanced phrase added after the article title indicating "Interview by" with the interviewer’s name

Return to Chapter 1. Journals / A. Journal Articles / Article Type, or

Chapter 23. Journals on the Internet / A. Journal Articles on the Internet / Article Type

5. For Journal Title (Journal Title Abbreviation)

After NLM establishes an abbreviation for a title, it usually stays that way in MEDLINE/PubMed, even if the rules change. You may see contradictory abbreviations for some words in titles; for example:

  • Academy of Management Journal abbreviated as Acad Manage J in 1963
  • but
  • Access Management Journal abbreviated as Access Manag J in 2003

Return to Chapter 1. Journals / A. Journal Articles / Journal Title, or

Chapter 23. Journals on the Internet / A. Journal Articles on the Internet / Journal Title

6. For Edition

After NLM establishes an abbreviation for a title with an edition, the abbreviation usually stays that way in MEDLINE/PubMed, even if the rules change. You may see contradictory abbreviations for some titles with editions; for example:

  • Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and Neonatal Edition. was established as
  • Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed
  • not
  • Arch Dis Child (Fetal Neonatal Ed)
  • but
  • British Medical Journal. Clinical Research Edition. was established as Br Med J (Clin Res Ed)

Return to Chapter 1. Journals / A. Journal Articles / Edition, or

Chapter 23. Journals on the Internet / A. Journal Articles on the Internet / Edition

7. For Type of Medium

  • NLM indexes Internet journals, but does not currently display a type of medium for them in most PubMed displays; however, users may determine the type of medium that NLM used for creating the citation and indexing the article by viewing the PubMed XML format display. The version used is in the XML element <Journal Issue CitedMedium=>. Valid values after the equals sign are Print for the hard copy of a journal, and Internet for the Web-based version.
  • NLM does not currently index journals in microform, CD-ROM, DVD, or audiovisual format

Return to Chapter 1. Journals / A. Journal Articles / Type of Medium, or

Chapter 23. Journals on the Internet / A. Journal Articles on the Internet / Type of Medium

8. For Physical Description

  • NLM does not currently index journals in microform, CD-ROM, DVD, or audiovisual format

Return to Chapter 1. Journals / A. Journal Articles / Physical Description, or

9. For Language

  • MEDLINE/PubMed displays citation information only in English, but indicates all languages of publication. Translated article titles are shown in brackets to indicate a translation.

Return to Chapter 1. Journals / A. Journal Articles / Language, or

Chapter 23. Journals on the Internet / A. Journal Articles on the Internet / Language

10. For Location (Pagination or Notes)

  • MEDLINE/PubMed permits publishers to choose between using traditional pagination or electronic article numbers, or using both. In cases where publishers supply article numbers as electronic location data only (not as pagination), these numbers appear as notes and pagination is absent. The unique identifiers for a citation may also appear as notes.
    • MEDLINE/PubMed example, a publisher-supplied article number for pagination:
      • J Med Internet Res. 2008 Apr 18;10(2):e11. PubMed PMID: 18440918; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2483923.
    • MEDLINE/PubMed example, publisher-supplied article number as a locator without calling it pagination, no pagination (pii means Publisher Item Identifier):
      • Euro Surveill. 2008 May 8;13(19). pii: 18863. PubMed PMID: 18761981.
    • MEDLINE/PubMed example showing the use of article number as both pagination and a note (doi means Digital Object Identifier):
      • BMJ. 2008 Jul 1;337:a295. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a295. PubMed PMID: 18595903; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2453298.

Return to Chapter 23. Journals on the Internet / A. Journal Articles on the Internet / Location (Pagination), or Chapter 23. Journals on the Internet / A. Journal Articles on the Internet / Notes.