Managing CER References Better with EndNote: The Basics

Author: Ashley Self

Using a reference manager like EndNote while writing a massive, reference-heavy document like a CER is certainly a game changer for medical writers. EndNote’s core features like Cite While You Write are indispensable when it comes to saving valuable time and keeping thousands of data references organized.

However, EndNote’s more advanced features, like PDF markups, reference library sharing and groups, are particularly valuable to CER writers who typically collaborate with multiple writers, researchers and analysts on one document, and also have to update older inherited CERs they didn’t originally write.

In this article, we’ll cover some of EndNote’s basic features. If you are already familiar with those, you can jump to our next blog on how to make the most of EndNote’s more advanced features when writing your next CER.

Cite While You Write is an EndNote plugin that allows you to add, manage and edit EndNote citations directly from Word while you are working in your document. It is simple to install and you are able to access all of EndNote’s features without leaving Word, which means you can search for, sort, and edit resources seamlessly as you are writing. Just make sure the EndNote library related to the project you are working on is open in EndNote.

EndNote has a database of more than 6,000 citation styles that are updated periodically. Most CERs use the AMA style, however, sometimes writers may be required to use a different style or even make a minor change to an existing style. Occasionally writers may receive a draft document from a client that was cited using a different style.

You can find new or updated styles on EndNote.com. Search for Output Styles and download the ones you want. Then go into your downloads folder, open the new styles in EndNote and save them. You can then access them in EndNote by going to Open Style Manager and searching for the new style.

Perhaps your reviewing body or client wants you to use the AMA style but with a slight variation in the way things are abbreviated. In that case, you can create a custom style based on the existing AMA style. Go to: Edit > Output Styles > Open Style Manager > Find your style and click Edit > Using menu on the left, select the section you would like to edit and choose Templates. Then make any changes to the corresponding template fields. When done, save the file under a new name.

Because CERs and other medical regulatory documents are often hundreds of pages long, it is sometimes preferable to create sub-reference bibliographies for each main document section. To do this for each of your document chapters, you can edit the Bibliography Style you are using.  Go to: Edit > Output Styles > Style Manager > Find your style and click Edit > Using the menu on the left, click on Sections. Here you can choose to have the bibliography at the end of the document or at the end of each section, or both. Save your changes. Then ensure that, within your Word document, each unique section is separated by a “section break”. Note: if your document template or standard formatting contains section breaks for other purposes (such as tables), you will see a bibliography after each section break, so, this style may not work efficiently in those cases.

When working in an already complex CER document, EndNote’s core functionality makes managing large batches of references and citations fluid and virtually error-free. Already, using just these basic features will save medical writers substantial time and mental energy.

When you are ready to dig into EndNote’s more advanced features, you will find it helps with much more than just document citation management.

Stay tuned for the second part of our EndNote series: Managing CER Writing Better with Endnote: Advanced.

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