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
Service, R. F. 2008. Problem solved (sort of). Science (New York, N.Y.) 321: 784–786.
A journal article with 2 authors
Doyle, J., and M. Csete. 2007. Rules of engagement. Nature 446: 860.
A journal article with 3 authors
Boyd, O. S., C. H. Jones, and A. F. Sheehan. 2004. Foundering lithosphere imaged beneath the southern Sierra Nevada, California, USA. Science (New York, N.Y.) 305: 660–662.
A journal article with 9 or more authors
Wei, B. Q., R. Vajtai, Y. Jung, J. Ward, R. Zhang, G. Ramanath, and P. M. Ajayan. 2002. Microfabrication technology: organized assembly of carbon nanotubes. Nature 416: 495–496.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Hens, H. S. L. C. 2012. Performance Based Building Design 2. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany.
An edited book
Ganascia, J.-G., P. Lenca, and J.-M. Petit eds. . 2012. Discovery Science: 15th International Conference, DS 2012, Lyon, France, October 29-31, 2012. Proceedings. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Dogaru, R., and I. Dogaru. 2013. Binary Synchronization of Complex Dynamics in Cellular Automata and its Applications in Compressed Sensing and Cryptography. In K. Kyamakya, W. A. Halang, W. Mathis, J. C. Chedjou, and Z. Li [eds.], Selected Topics in Nonlinear Dynamics and Theoretical Electrical Engineering, Studies in Computational Intelligence, 81–95. 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
Hamilton, K. 2015. NASA Releases Astonishing GoPro Footage From Astronauts POV. 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. 2006. Analysis of Data for Exports Regulated by the Department of Commerce. 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
Hinchey, B. A. 2010. Punishing the Penitent: Disproportionate Fines in Recent FCPA Enforcements and Suggested Improvements. Doctoral dissertation. George Washington University, Washington, DC.

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
Barron, J. 2016. A Rail Terminal With Flair and Grandeur Is a Survivor. New York Times: A17.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Service, 2008).
This sentence cites two references (Doyle and Csete, 2007; Service, 2008).

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

  • Two authors: (Doyle and Csete, 2007)
  • Three or more authors: (Wei 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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