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
Buriak, J.M. Chemistry. Chemistry with Nanoscale Perfection. Science 2004, 304, 692–693.
A journal article with 2 authors
Wang, H.-W.; Nogales, E. Nucleotide-Dependent Bending Flexibility of Tubulin Regulates Microtubule Assembly. Nature 2005, 435, 911–915.
A journal article with 3 authors
Conard, N.J.; Grootes, P.M.; Smith, F.H. Unexpectedly Recent Dates for Human Remains from Vogelherd. Nature 2004, 430, 198–201.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Kiss, I.Z.; Rusin, C.G.; Kori, H.; Hudson, J.L. Engineering Complex Dynamical Structures: Sequential Patterns and Desynchronization. Science 2007, 316, 1886–1889.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Taylor, R. Handbook of Retinal Screening in Diabetes; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, UK, 2006; ISBN 9780470028858.
An edited book
Human-Computer Interaction. Theories, Methods, and Tools: 16th International Conference, HCI International 2014, Heraklion, Crete, Greece, June 22-27, 2014, Proceedings, Part I; Kurosu, M., Ed.; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2014; Vol. 8510; ISBN 9783319072326.
A chapter in an edited book
Martinez-de Dios, J.R.; Jimenez-Gonzalez, A.; de San Bernabe, A.; Ollero, A. CONET Integrated Testbed Experiments. In A Remote Integrated Testbed for Cooperating Objects; Jimenez-Gonzalez, A., San Bernabe, A. de, Ollero, A., Eds.; SpringerBriefs in Electrical and Computer Engineering; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2014; pp. 59–73 ISBN 9783319013718.

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
Taub, B. It’s Going To Take Another 300 Years To Discover All 16,000 Amazonian Tree Species 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 Gulf War Illnesses: Federal Research Strategy Needs Reexamination; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1998;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Powell, J.R. Ocean Fronts in the Southern California Current System and Their Role in Structuring Zooplankton Distributions, Diel Vertical Migration, and Size Composition. Doctoral dissertation, University of California San Diego: La Jolla, CA, 2013.

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
Feeney, K. A Fish Shack With a Secret (It’s the Batter). New York Times 2006, 14NJ13.

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

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