How to format your references using the Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Biology. 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
McLaren, A. Stem Cells: Golden Opportunities with Ethical Baggage. Science 2000, 288, 1778.
A journal article with 2 authors
Collen, B.; Nicholson, E. Conservation. Taking the Measure of Change. Science 2014, 346, 166–167.
A journal article with 3 authors
Karsai, M.; Perra, N.; Vespignani, A. Time Varying Networks and the Weakness of Strong Ties. Sci. Rep. 2014, 4, 4001.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Huang, Y.-W.; Chen, W.T.; Wu, P.C.; Fedotov, V.A.; Zheludev, N.I.; Tsai, D.P. Toroidal Lasing Spaser. Sci. Rep. 2013, 3, 1237.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lagraña, F. E-Mail and Behavioral Changes; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2016; ISBN 9781119285106.
An edited book
Handbook of Industrial Chemistry and Biotechnology; Kent, J.A., Ed.; 12th ed. 2012.; Springer US: Boston, MA, 2012; ISBN 9781461442585.
A chapter in an edited book
Lankin, P.T.; Shon, P.C. Triad, Yakuza, and Jok-Pok: Asian Gangsters in Cinema. In Handbook of Asian Criminology; Liu, J., Hebenton, B., Jou, S., Eds.; Springer: New York, NY, 2013; pp. 65–82 ISBN 9781461452171.

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 Biology.

Blog post
Carpineti, A. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Wear A Bra, According To Science Available online: (accessed on 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 FCC: The Local Multipoint Distribution Service; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1997;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Cao, Y. Morphological and Functional Characterization of the Neurotransmitter GABA in Adult Rat Taste Buds. Doctoral dissertation, Ohio State University: Columbus, OH, 2006.

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
Hamilton, J.M.; Kosar, K.R. All the President’s Propaganda. New York Times 2016, A21.

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 titleBiology
AbbreviationBiology (Basel)
ISSN (online)2079-7737

Other styles