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. K. Powell, Nature 434, 1048 (2005).
A journal article with 2 authors
1. S. Einum and I. A. Fleming, Nature 405, 565 (2000).
A journal article with 3 authors
1. T. K. Sato, M. Overduin, and S. D. Emr, Science 294, 1881 (2001).
A journal article with 4 or more authors
1. S. Sharma, S. Sarkar, S. S. Paul, S. Roy, and K. Chattopadhyay, Sci. Rep. 3, 3525 (2013).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Q. Wang, Practical Design of Magnetostatic Structure Using Numerical Simulation (John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd, Singapore, 2013).
An edited book
1. D. J. Lamdin, editor , Consumer Knowledge and Financial Decisions: Lifespan Perspectives (Springer, New York, NY, 2012).
A chapter in an edited book
1. R. Capello, U. Fratesi, and L. Resmini, in Globalization and Regional Growth in Europe: Past Trends and Future Scenarios, edited by U. Fratesi and L. Resmini (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2011), pp. 53–85.

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. S. Luntz, 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, Air Traffic Control: FAA Uses Earned Value Techniques to Help Manage Information Technology Acquisitions, but Needs to Clarify Policy and Strengthen Oversight (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2008).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Y. Liang, Studies of E. Coli YidC and Other Factors for Membrane Protein Insertion, Doctoral dissertation, Ohio State University, 2005.

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. S. Kishkovsky, New York Times A11 (2008).

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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