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

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for American Journal of Science (AJS). 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
Venema, L., 2011, Silicon electronics and beyond: Nature, v. 479, p. 309.
A journal article with 2 authors
Johnson, B. C., and Melosh, H. J., 2012, Impact spherules as a record of an ancient heavy bombardment of Earth: Nature, v. 485, p. 75–77.
A journal article with 3 authors
Dubi, Y., Meir, Y., and Avishai, Y., 2007, Nature of the superconductor-insulator transition in disordered superconductors: Nature, v. 449, p. 876–880.
A journal article with 15 or more authors
Todesco, M., Balasubramanian, S., Hu, T. T., Traw, M. B., Horton, M., Epple, P., Kuhns, C., Sureshkumar, S., Schwartz, C., Lanz, C., Laitinen, R. A. E., Huang, Y., Chory, J., Lipka, V., and others, 2010, Natural allelic variation underlying a major fitness trade-off in Arabidopsis thaliana: Nature, v. 465, p. 632–636.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Troppens, U., Erkens, R., and Müller, W., 2004, Storage Networks Explained: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Fischlin, M., and Coron, J.-S., editors, 2016, Advances in Cryptology – EUROCRYPT 2016: 35th Annual International Conference on the Theory and Applications of Cryptographic Techniques, Vienna, Austria, May 8-12, 2016, Proceedings, Part I: Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, XXVIII, 853 p. 155 illus p.
A chapter in an edited book
Koncina, E., Roth, L., Gonthier, B., and Bagnard, D., 2007, Role of Semaphorins during Axon Growth and Guidance, in Bagnard, D. ed., Axon Growth and Guidance: Springer, New York, NY, p. 50–64.

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 Science.

Blog post
Davis, J., 2017, New Species Of Pliosaur Discovered In Russia, accessed October 30, 2018, at IFLScience at


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, 2008, Transportation Safety: Medical Certification and Background Check Requirements for Pilots, Vessel Masters, and Commercial Drivers Vary: U.S. Government Printing Office GAO-08-421R.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
RinconGallardo, T. J., 2010, The effect of the use of learning journals on the development of metacognition in undergraduate students:

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
Hyduk, J., 2016, Looking Back (Sigh) at the End (Sigh) of a Great Season (Sigh): New York Times, p. D4.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Venema, 2011).
This sentence cites two references (Johnson and Melosh, 2012; Venema, 2011).

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

  • Two authors: (Johnson and Melosh, 2012)
  • Three or more authors: (Todesco and others, 2010)

About the journal

Full journal titleAmerican Journal of Science
AbbreviationAm. J. Sci.
ISSN (print)0002-9599
ISSN (online)1945-452x
ScopeGeneral Earth and Planetary Sciences

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