Referencing Style Guide


Principles for Constructing Journal Title Abbreviations



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Principles for Constructing Journal Title Abbreviations

(Remember for medical journal titles to check the Journals Database

that is part of PubMed)
The title abbreviation is constructed from the title proper of the journal.  The title proper includes part designations and section titles, if present, but does not include subtitle or parallel title (titles presented in other languages) information. 
Example: Journal title is: Journal of neural transmission.  General section  

Title abbreviation is: J Neural Transm Gen Sect


Journal title is: Arthritis care and research : the official journal of the

Arthritis Health Professions Association  

Title abbreviation is: Arthritis Care Res
When a full title and an acronym both appear on the title page or the cover, the fully spelled out form is always considered the title proper. 

Example: On cover of journal: JMS   Journal of mass spectrometry  

Journal title is: Journal of mass spectrometry  

Title abbreviation is: J Mass Spectrom


Each word in the title proper is compared against a master list of abbreviations (see following list). If the word or word root is found in the master list, that abbreviation is used.
If a word is not found in the list, the word appears in the title abbreviation as it appears in the title proper.
Articles, conjunctions, and prepositions are always omitted from title abbreviations.
For compound words, NLM only abbreviates the second element of such words. 

Example: If the journal title contained the word: Forschungstechnologie,

it is abbreviated as Forschungstechnol, rather than Forschtechnol.

For terms containing a hyphen or a slash, each element is treated separately only if each word could stand alone. 


Example: Journal title is: Diabetes self-management  

Title abbreviation is: Diabetes Self Manag  

(both Self and Management could stand alone)
The first letter of each word in the title abbreviation is capitalized.

All diacritics are removed.

All punctuation is removed, except for parentheses used when a qualifier is supplied.
Exceptions to above rules:

One word titles are never abbreviated.

At least two letters must be dropped from a word before it is abbreviated.  Words from which only a single letter would be dropped are not abbreviated. 

Example: If the journal title contained the word Psychiatry, it is not abbreviated to Psychiatr, but

the word Psychiatric is abbreviated to Psychiatr.

If a journal emanates from a corporate body and deals with the internal policies, procedures, or resources of the organization, the organizational name is added at the end of the title abbreviation, using the appropriate abbreviations for any words in the organizational name. 

Example Journal title is: Report of proceedings.  

It is issued by the Scottish Society of the History of Medicine  

Title abbreviation is: Rep Proc Scott Soc Hist Med
Use of Qualifiers

A fundamental principle of title abbreviation assignment is that each title abbreviation must be unique.  If two journals have the same title, or have titles which, when the above procedures are followed, would result in the same title abbreviation, supply one of the following qualifying elements enclosed in parentheses, in the following order of preference, to the title abbreviation to make it unique:



  • Original city of publication, using the approved abbreviation for a place name, if one exists

  • Publisher name

  • Edition statement

  • Date of publication

Example: Journal title is: Pediatrics

There are already several journals with that title in the database, so the city of

publication of the first issue, Oxford, is added to the title abbreviation.  Title abbreviation is: Pediatrics (Oxford)

[Note that as a single word title, Pediatrics is not abbreviated ]

Appendix B:



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