How to format your references using the Applied Physics A citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Applied Physics A. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
1. J. S. Miller, Nature 446, 870 (2007).
A journal article with 2 authors
1. J. D. Amack and M. L. Manning, Science 338, 212 (2012).
A journal article with 3 authors
1. M. J. Salganik, P. S. Dodds, and D. J. Watts, Science 311, 854 (2006).
A journal article with 4 or more authors
1. J. W. Buckholtz, M. T. Treadway, R. L. Cowan, N. D. Woodward, R. Li, M. S. Ansari, R. M. Baldwin, A. N. Schwartzman, E. S. Shelby, C. E. Smith, R. M. Kessler, and D. H. Zald, Science 329, 532 (2010).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. C. A. Simpkins and A. M. Simpkins, Zen Meditation in Psychotherapy (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2011).
An edited book
1. J. Lee, N. Novikov, and V. Turkevich, editors , Innovative Superhard Materials and Sustainable Coatings for Advanced Manufacturing: Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Innovative Superhard Materials and Sustainable Coatings Kiev, Ukraine 12–15 May 2004 (Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 2005).
A chapter in an edited book
1. M. Smyth, in Solar Energy in the Winemaking Industry, edited by J. Russell and T. Milanowski (Springer, London, 2011), pp. 241–356.

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 Applied Physics A.

Blog post
1. E. Andrew, IFLScience (2015).


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
1. Government Accountability Office, Legality of the Reported Use by the Energy Research and Development Administration of Certain Fossil Energy Funds for Contracts (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1976).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. A. Poudyal Kharel, Pyrolysis Studies of Copper and Copper Phosphate Mixtures on a Tungsten Surface, Doctoral dissertation, Southern Illinois University, 2015.

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
1. J. Koblin, New York Times B6 (2016).

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1,2].
This sentence cites four references [1–4].

About the journal

Full journal titleApplied Physics A
AbbreviationAppl. Phys. A Mater. Sci. Process.
ISSN (print)0947-8396
ISSN (online)1432-0630
ScopeGeneral Chemistry
General Materials Science

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