AMA Journal Citation | Guide with Examples

To cite a journal article in AMA citation format, you need an AMA reference listing the author’s name, article title (in sentence case), journal name (title case, italicized, and abbreviated), publication year, volume, issue, page range of the article, and DOI if available.

An AMA in-text citation for a journal article consists of the number of the relevant reference, written in superscript. You can also add page numbers in parentheses if you need to refer to a specific part of the article.

AMA format Author last name Initials. Article title. Journal Name. Year;Volume(Issue):Page range. DOI or URL.
AMA reference Aponte J, Nokes KM. Electronic health literacy of older Hispanics with diabetes. Health Promot Int. 2017;32(3):482–489. doi:1093/heapro/dav112.
AMA in-text citation Aponte and Nokes1(p485) indicate that …
Note
Even when you access a journal article online, you should follow the format described here to cite it, not the format for an AMA website citation.

Citing an article with a DOI

AMA states that when an article lists a DOI (digital object identifier), you should always include it in your reference. This applies whether you read the article online or in print. The DOI may be shown in the text of the article itself or on the webpage hosting it.

The DOI appears at the end of the reference, preceded by “doi:” This text is not capitalized, and there’s no space between it and the DOI number itself. The DOI ends with a period. Don’t present the DOI in the form of a link, and don’t include an access date.

AMA format Author last name Initials. Article title. Journal Name. Year;Volume(Issue):Page range. DOI.
AMA reference Byrne J, Pickett K, Rietdijk W, Shepherd J, Grace M, Roderick P. A longitudinal study to explore the impact of preservice teacher health training on early career teachers’ roles as health promoters. Pedagogy Health Promot. 2016;2(3):170–183. doi:10.1177/2373379916644449.

Citing an online article with no DOI

If you accessed the article online and you don’t see a DOI, you should include the URL instead. The page will often list a “stable link” that shouldn’t change over time; it’s best to use this whenever available, instead of copy-pasting the URL from your browser.

Whenever you include a URL for any source type in AMA style, you should also add an access date. Write the access date right before the URL, as its own sentence starting with “Accessed.”

When a DOI is available, include it instead, and don’t add an access date.

AMA format Author last name Initials. Article title. Journal Name. Year;Volume(Issue):Page range. Accessed Month Day, Year. URL.
AMA reference Balogh R, Quinn H, Simpson A, Bond S. A comparative analysis of six audit systems for mental health nursing. Int J Qual Health Care. 1998;10(1):43–52. Accessed September 12, 2022. https://www.jstor.org/stable/45125357.

Citing a print article with no DOI

When you cite an article that you accessed in print, you should still list a DOI if one is indicated. If not, though, you can simply omit this part, ending the reference with the article page range.

AMA format Author last name Initials.Article title. Journal Name. Year;Volume(Issue):Page range.
AMA reference Jackson MN, LoGerfo JP, Diehr P, Watts CA, Richardson W. Elective hysterectomy: A cost-benefit analysis. Inquiry. 1978;15(3):275–280.

Journal name abbreviations

AMA citation format requires you to always use standard abbreviations for the names of journals in your references. The abbreviated journal name is presented in italics, with a period at the end (but no periods at the end of each abbreviated word).

The standard abbreviations are the ones used in the National Library of Medicine database. To check the correct abbreviation for a journal, you can search for it (or for the name of the particular article you’re trying to cite) in the database.

For example, in the screenshot below you can see the correct abbreviation for the journal searched for: “Int J Qual Health Care.”

correct abbreviation for the journal searched for: “Int J Qual Health Care.”

Frequently asked questions

How do I format a DOI in AMA style?

A DOI (digital object identifier) is preceded by the text “doi:” (no capitalization and no space) in an AMA reference. Don’t present it in the form of a link; only include the DOI number itself. For example: “doi:10.1177/2373379916644449.”

AMA style states that you should include the DOI of a source whenever one is available. They mainly appear in AMA journal citations and can also appear in AMA book citations. When you include a DOI, don’t add a URL or access date.

When should I use “et al” in AMA citation format?

The names of up to six authors should be listed for each source on your AMA reference page, separated by commas. For a source with seven or more authors, you should list the first three followed by “et al: “Isidore, Gilbert, Gunvor, et al.”

In the text, mentioning author names is optional (as they aren’t an official part of AMA in-text citations). If you do mention them, though, you should use the first author’s name followed by “et al” when there are three or more: “Isidore et al argue that …”

Note that according to AMA’s rather minimalistic punctuation guidelines, there’s no period after “et al” unless it appears at the end of a sentence. This is different from most other styles, where there is normally a period.

Do I need to include an access date in my AMA website citation?

Yes, you should normally include an access date in an AMA website citation (or when citing any source with a URL). This is because webpages can change their content over time, so it’s useful for the reader to know when you accessed the page.

When a publication or update date is provided on the page, you should include it in addition to the access date. The access date appears second in this case, e.g., “Published June 19, 2021. Accessed August 29, 2022.”

Don’t include an access date when citing a source with a DOI (such as in an AMA journal article citation).

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes for Scribbr and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

1 comment

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
September 16, 2022 at 10:22 PM

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