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
Crutzen, P.J. (2010) Anthropocene man. Nature 467, S10.
A journal article with 2 authors
Law, K.S. & Stohl, A. (2007) Arctic air pollution: origins and impacts. Science (New York, N.Y.) 315, 1537–1540.
A journal article with 3 authors
Tanaka, S.-I., Matsunami, M. & Kimura, S.-I. (2013) An investigation of electron-phonon coupling via phonon dispersion measurements in graphite using angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy. Scientific reports 3, 3031.
A journal article with 16 or more authors
Rabosky, D.L., Chang, J., Title, P.O., Cowman, P.F., Sallan, L., Friedman, M., Kaschner, K., Garilao, C., Near, T.J., Coll, M. & Alfaro, M.E. (2018) An inverse latitudinal gradient in speciation rate for marine fishes. Nature 559, 392–395.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bajorski, P. (2011) Statistics for Imaging, Optics, and Photonics: Bajorski/Statistics for Imaging. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Zang, A., Stephansson, O. & Dresen, G. (eds) (2006) Rock Damage and Fluid Transport, Part II. Birkhäuser, Basel.
A chapter in an edited book
Ciesla, D.J. & Moore, E.E. (2007) Fundamental Operative Approaches in Acute Care Surgery. In Acute Care Surgery: Principles and Practice (eds L.D. Britt, D.D. Trunkey & D.V. Feliciano), pp. 43–66. Springer, New York, NY.

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
Hale, T. (2016) Giant Snowballs Show Up Along A Siberian Beach. 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 (2009) National Airspace System: FAA Reauthorization Issues are Critical to System Transformation and Operations. 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
Gaudet, C.J. (2013) A General Approach to the Direct Detection of Dark Matter. Doctoral dissertation, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA.

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
Wagner, J. (2017) Two Familiar Faces Rejoin Mets’ Bullpen. New York Times, D5.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Crutzen, 2010).
This sentence cites two references (Law & Stohl, 2007; Crutzen, 2010).

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

  • Two authors: (Law & Stohl, 2007)
  • Three authors: (Tanaka, Matsunami, & Kimura, 2013)
  • 4 or more authors: (Rabosky et al., 2018)

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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