How to format your references using the Biological Reviews citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Biological Reviews. 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
Bourzac, K. (2015) Spiders: Web of intrigue. Nature 519, S4-6.
A journal article with 2 authors
Enright, M.C. & Spratt, B.G. (2011) Genomics. The genomic view of bacterial diversification. Science (New York, N.Y.) 331, 407–409.
A journal article with 3 authors
Kitching, R.P., Taylor, N.M. & Thrusfield, M.V. (2007) Veterinary epidemiology: vaccination strategies for foot-and-mouth disease. Nature 445, E12; discussion E12-3.
A journal article with 16 or more authors
Braine, J., Lisenfeld, U., Duc, P.A., Leon, S. & Due, P.A. (2000) Formation of molecular gas in the tidal debris of violent galaxy-galaxy interactions. Nature 403, 867–869.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Parke, R.D. (2013) Future Families. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Grimm, B., Porra, R.J., Rüdiger, W. & Scheer, H. (eds) (2006) Chlorophylls and Bacteriochlorophylls: Biochemistry, Biophysics, Functions and Applications. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.
A chapter in an edited book
Hornung, V., Barchet, W., Schlee, M. & Hartmann, G. (2008) RNA Recognition via TLR7 and TLR8. In Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs) and Innate Immunity (eds S. Bauer & G. Hartmann), pp. 71–86. 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 Biological Reviews.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2015) Parents’ Views on Vaccines are Changing. IFLScience. IFLScience. Https:// [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 (2014) Department of Homeland Security: Continued Actions Needed to Strengthen Oversight and Coordination of Research and Development. 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
Torres, C. (2013) Grassroots in Santa Ana: Identity and conceptualizing community. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, 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
Kishkovsky, S. (2000) Restructuring At the Bolshoi Costs Director His Position. New York Times, E1.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Bourzac, 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Enright & Spratt, 2011; Bourzac, 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Enright & Spratt, 2011)
  • Three authors: (Kitching, Taylor, & Thrusfield, 2007)
  • 4 or more authors: (Braine et al., 2000)

About the journal

Full journal titleBiological Reviews
AbbreviationBiol. Rev. Camb. Philos. Soc.
ISSN (print)1464-7931
ISSN (online)1469-185X
ScopeGeneral Agricultural and Biological Sciences
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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