How to format your references using the American Journal of Botany citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for American Journal of Botany (AJB). For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Vijayan, M. 2001. Obituary. G.N. Ramachandran (1922-2001). Nature 411: 544.
A journal article with 2 authors
Shafiq, G., and K. C. Veluvolu. 2014. Surface chest motion decomposition for cardiovascular monitoring. Scientific reports 4: 5093.
A journal article with 3 authors
Karlin, S., A. Bergman, and A. J. Gentles. 2001. Genomics. Annotation of the Drosophila genome. Nature 411: 259–260.
A journal article with 9 or more authors
Holland, R. A., K. Thorup, M. J. Vonhof, W. W. Cochran, and M. Wikelski. 2006. Navigation: bat orientation using Earth’s magnetic field. Nature 444: 702.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Joule, J. A., and K. Mills. 2012. Heterocyclic Chemistry at a Glance. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Gatzoulis, M. A. 2007. Cardiopatie congenite dell’adulto: Una guida pratica. J. Therrien, L. Swan, and G. A. Pantely [eds.],. Springer, Milano.
A chapter in an edited book
Jacobson, M. J., B. Kim, C. Miao, Z. Shen, and M. Chavez. 2010. Design Perspectives for Learning in Virtual Worlds. In M. J. Jacobson, and P. Reimann [eds.], Designs for Learning Environments of the Future: International Perspectives from the Learning Sciences, 111–141. Springer US, Boston, MA.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for American Journal of Botany.

Blog post
Andrew, E. 2015. Spectacular Photograph Shows Earliest Stars That Formed In Our Universe. IFLScience. Website [accessed 30 October 2018].


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. 2003. Geographic Information Systems: Challenges to Effective Data Sharing. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Gonzaga Reed, R. R. 2017. The Impact of a Community-Based College Access Program at a Midwestern Institution. Doctoral dissertation. Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Schwartz, J., and A. Blinder. 2017. Houston Faces Urgent Task: Moving Mountains of Storm Debris. New York Times: A13.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Vijayan, 2001).
This sentence cites two references (Vijayan, 2001; Shafiq and Veluvolu, 2014).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Shafiq and Veluvolu, 2014)
  • Three or more authors: (Holland et al., 2006)

About the journal

Full journal titleAmerican Journal of Botany
AbbreviationAm. J. Bot.
ISSN (print)0002-9122
ISSN (online)1537-2197
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Plant Science

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