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FSC100 The Real CSI

Introduction to research in forensic science

Journal of Forensic Sciences Style

The Journal of Forensic Sciences (JoFS) Style is described on the journal's page of directions for authors (scroll towards the bottom of the page). It is similar to the Nature style you may have learned in BIO152.

Key points of the JoFS style:

  • Group references in a separate section called References (in bold) at the end of the paper.
  • Number references consecutively (starting with 1) based on the order in which you use them in your text, as in Nature style.
  • Do not italicize or bold any parts of the reference.
  • Shorten the journal titles in references to journal articles according to medical literature abbreviations found in the U.S. National Library of Medicine's Index Medicus.

Here is a sample JoFS article fragment showing how to make the numerical in-text citations:

JoFS in-text citations

You can check the NLM abbreviations in PubMed's NLM Catalog or consult this comprehensive but unofficial list. Some commonly used abbreviations include:

  • Journal of Forensic Sciences: J Forensic Sci
  • Journal of Forensic Identification: J Forensic Identif
  • Forensic Science International: Forensic Sci Int

NLM Index Medicus Abbreviations

Let's say you have to find an abbreviation for a journal nor listed above in order to cite it properly using the JoFS style. Here's what you do:

  1. Go to the NCBI Journal search and type in the journal title.
  2. Find the journal title in the list of results.
  3. Identify the NLM Title Abbreviation.

NLM journal title abbreviation

Headings and Sections of a JoFS Paper

Working with the JoFS instructions for authors on p. 6 of 13 we find some directions as to headings in the body of any JoFS paper.

Apply these to your papers, noting (point 4 below) that the headings you choose will reflect the content of your paper and do not have to adhere to the typical headings in a primary research article:

  1. JoFS does not use an “Introduction” heading. The introductory text begins on the first text page.
  2. Other typical headings include Methods (or Materials and Methods), Results, and Discussion.
  3. Long articles may need subheadings within the sections to clarify their content, especially the Results and Discussion sections.
  4. Other types of articles, such as Case Reports [or your papers!], are likely to need different headings and subheadings. [This means you need to pick appropriate and clear headings.]
  5. Generally, avoid overuse of subheadings, especially in the Methods section. Headings should be in Upper and Lower Case and bolded,
  6. Sub-headings should be in upper and lower case and un-bolded and italicized.
  7. Sub-sub-headings should be in upper and lower case and normal text (no bold or italicize).

What about other document features in the JoFS style?

  • Running Head: no running head or header/footers
  • Page Numbers: bottom right

Citing Examples in JoFS Style

The instructions for authors page of the Journal of Forensic Sciences gives many examples of how to cite common scholarly sources. Here are some of the JoFS examples, with a focus on journal articles and scholarly books:

Articles in Journals 

  • Standard Journal Article, print (List all authors; however, if the number of authors exceeds six, list six authors followed by et al.)

Goate AM, Haynes AR, Owen MJ, Farrall M, James LA, Lai LY et al. Predisposing locus for Alzheimer's disease on chromosome 21. Lancet 1989;11(4):352–5.

  • Standard Journal Article, electronic, with DOI - digital object identifier, a standard article locator - and an electronic publication date

Williams SF, Pulsifer DP, Shaler, RC, Ramotowski RS, Brazelle S, Lakhtakia A. Comparison of the columnar-thin-film and vacuum-metal-deposition techniques to develop sebaceous fingermarks on nonporous substrates. J Forensic Sci doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.12648. Epub 2014 Nov 24.

  • Journal Article, no author given

Coffee drinking and cancer of the pancreas [editorial]. BMJ 1981;283:628.

  • Journal Article, [type of article indicated as needed]

Spargo PM, Manners JM. DDAVP and open-heart surgery [letter]. Anaesthesia 1989;44:363–4. 

Books, Chapters in Books, Conference Proceedings

  • Author(s)

Colson JH, Armour WJ. Sports injuries and their treatment. 2nd rev. ed. London, U.K.: Saul Publishers, 1986.

  • Editor(s)

Diener HC, Wilkinson M, editors. Drug-induced headache. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1988.

  • Organization as Author and Publisher

Virginia Law Foundation. The medical and legal implications of AIDS. Charlottesville, VA: The Foundation, 1987.

  • Chapters in a Book

Weinstein L, Swartz MN. Pathologic properties of invading microorganisms. In: Sodeman WA Jr, Sodeman WA, editors. Pathologic physiology: mechanisms of disease. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 1974;457–72.

  • Conference Proceedings

Vivian VL, editor. Child abuse and neglect: a medical community response. Proceedings of the First AMA National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect; 1984 Mar 30–31; Chicago, IL. Chicago, IL: American Medical Association, 1985. 

  • Conference Paper

Harley NH. Comparing radon daughter dosimetric and risk models. In: Gammage RB, Kaye SV, editors.
Indoor air and human health. Proceedings of the Seventh Life Sciences Symposium; 1984 Oct 29–31; Knoxville, TN. Chelsea, Ml: Lewis Publications, 1985;69–78. 

  • Scientific or Technical Report

Akutsu T. Total heart replacement device. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Heart and Lung Institute; 1974 Apr. Report No.: NIH-NHLI-691 218514. 

Unpublished Dissertations and Other Types of Sources

  • Dissertation

Youssef NM. School adjustment of children with congenital heart disease [dissertation]. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh, 1988.

  • Film (physical format)

AIDS epidemic: the physician's role [videorecording]. Cleveland, OH: Academy of Medicine of Cleveland, 1987

  • Internet document

American Cancer Society. Cancer facts and figures – 2010. (accessed January 10, 2019).

  • Online or streamed video

Krane DE. Exploring bias in forensic DNA profiling [video]. 2015. (accessed August 23, 2020).