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Naming conventions

Naming conventions

Computer programs

Computer programs/software in initial caps, e.g.Copernic Agent Basic,SPSS, Excel, PowerPoint,RevMan,Eppi-Reviewer,Stata, Stimul8,WinBUGS, etc.

Names of countries

Use ISO 3166-1Link open in a new window

Organisations and government departments

Use initial caps when it is possible to prefix the name with ‘the’, indicating that this organisation is the only one of its kind. For example, the Department of Health (DH), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the National Health Service (NHS). If the organisation is one of many, do not capitalise (except in the acronym). For example, a primary care trust (PCT), or a strategic health authority (SHA).

Titles and headings

Only the first word of a title or heading should have an initial capital letter.

Trade names

Drugs should be referred to by generic name (check BNF and use rINNs), with trade name and manufacturer at first mention in executive summary and main text, e.g. oseltamivir (Tamiflu®, Roche). If the author has not provided the trademark or registered symbol at first mention, check and query. 

Equipment should have trade name, trademark or registered symbol, manufacturer, and a brief address (town and, for example, US state) at first mention in executive summary and main text, e.g. Clearview® Chlamydia test (Inverness Medical Innovations, Princeton, NJ). Please check and query if not provided.

Computer software/programs should always state the version, with manufacturer and location (town) at first mention in executive summary and main text, e.g. WINBUGS 1.4.3 (MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge, UK). See Appendix 8 for company locations.

A brief address (town and, for example, US state, country) should be given at the first mention of company names in the text.