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
Grützmacher, H. 2000. CHEMISTRY: New Chemical Bricks Made Through Phosphorus Tricks. Science (New York, N.Y.) 289: 737–738.
A journal article with 2 authors
Engel, H.-A., and D. Loss. 2005. Fermionic bell-state analyzer for spin qubits. Science (New York, N.Y.) 309: 586–588.
A journal article with 3 authors
Ismail-Zadeh, A., S. Honda, and I. Tsepelev. 2013. Linking mantle upwelling with the lithosphere descent [corrected] and the Japan Sea evolution: a hypothesis. Scientific reports 3: 1137.
A journal article with 9 or more authors
Han, S., R. Tang, L. K. Anderson, T. E. Woerner, and Z.-M. Pei. 2003. A cell surface receptor mediates extracellular Ca(2+) sensing in guard cells. Nature 425: 196–200.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Perez, R. X., and A. P. Conkey. 2016. Troubleshooting Rotating Machinery. John Wiley &;#38; Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Londral, A. R., and P. Encarnação eds. . 2016. Advances in Neurotechnology, Electronics and Informatics: Revised Selected Papers from the 2nd International Congress on Neurotechnology, Electronics and Informatics (NEUROTECHNIX 2014), October 25-26, Rome, Italy. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Sellier, J. M., R. Georgieva, and I. Dimov. 2015. Sensitivity Analysis of Design Parameters for Silicon Diodes. In I. Dimov, S. Fidanova, and I. Lirkov [eds.], Numerical Methods and Applications: 8th International Conference, NMA 2014, Borovets, Bulgaria, August 20-24, 2014, Revised Selected Papers, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 34–43. Springer International Publishing, Cham.

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
O`Callaghan, J. 2017. Some Of The World’s Top Scientists Met Recently To Discuss How To Find Alien Life. 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. 1995. VA Student Financial Aid: Opportunity to Reduce Overlap in Approving Education and Training Programs. 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
Crump, S. 2015. The efficacy of an academic behavior assessment tool for the functional behavior assessment process. Doctoral dissertation. Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA.

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
Friedman, L., and J. Schwartz. 2017. Warm Gulf Fuels the Rain and Gives It Nowhere to Go. 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 (Grützmacher, 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Grützmacher, 2000; Engel and Loss, 2005).

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

  • Two authors: (Engel and Loss, 2005)
  • Three or more authors: (Han et al., 2003)

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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