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
Jones, G. 2000. Total internal reflection. Nature 403: 707.
A journal article with 2 authors
Relling, M. V., and W. E. Evans. 2015. Pharmacogenomics in the clinic. Nature 526: 343–350.
A journal article with 3 authors
Kirichok, Y., G. Krapivinsky, and D. E. Clapham. 2004. The mitochondrial calcium uniporter is a highly selective ion channel. Nature 427: 360–364.
A journal article with 9 or more authors
Ito, J., A. Ghosh, L. A. Moreira, E. A. Wimmer, and M. Jacobs-Lorena. 2002. Transgenic anopheline mosquitoes impaired in transmission of a malaria parasite. Nature 417: 452–455.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Hackshaw, A. 2010. How to Write a Grant Application. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.
An edited book
Petsche, H.-J., G. Keßler, L. Kannenberg, and J. Liskowacka eds. . 2009. Hermann Graßmann Roots and Traces: Autographs and Unknown Documents. Birkhäuser, Basel.
A chapter in an edited book
Both, F., C. Gerritsen, M. Hoogendoorn, and J. Treur. 2008. Model-Based Default Refinement of Partial Information within an Ambient Agent. In M. Mühlhäuser, A. Ferscha, and E. Aitenbichler [eds.], Constructing Ambient Intelligence: AmI 2007 Workshops Darmstadt, Germany, November 7-10, 2007 Revised Papers, Communications in Computer and Information Science, 34–43. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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. 2014. Is Your Religion Ready To Meet ET? 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. 1985. Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment System. 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
Dixon, L. K. 2009. Tracing anthropogenic wastes: Detection of fluorescent optical brighteners in a gradient of natural organic matter fluorescence. Doctoral dissertation. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

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
Billard, M. 2010. Yoga’s Serious. Except When It’s Not. New York Times: E6.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Jones, 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Jones, 2000; Relling and Evans, 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Relling and Evans, 2015)
  • Three or more authors: (Ito et al., 2002)

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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