Top tip: how do I find journal abbreviations?

When submitting journal articles or academic work, a frequent requirement is that the list of references should present journal titles in a standard abbreviated form. How can I find these abbreviations?

There’s a standard for these: ISO 4 (Information and documentation – Rules for the abbreviation of title words and titles of publications).

Usually, especially when Vancouver format  is specified, you will be expected to use the format for the National Library of Medicine’s Journals in NCBI Databases. These are the abbreviations used in PubMed and MEDLINE and can be looked up in the NLM Catalog.

nlm example

If the journal isn’t in the NLM Catalog, there are other sources to check:

ISI abbreviations (which are used in Web of Science)

CAS Source Index (CASSI) Search Tool (maintained by the American Chemical Society)

Finally, if you can’t find the journal whose title you want to abbreviate in any of these, then you can make your own according to ISO 4 principles, using the ISSN Centre’s List of Title Word Abbreviations.