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
Tomasz, A. Microbiology. Weapons of Microbial Drug Resistance Abound in Soil Flora. Science 2006, 311, 342–343.
A journal article with 2 authors
Kamiyama, D.; Chiba, A. Endogenous Activation Patterns of Cdc42 GTPase within Drosophila Embryos. Science 2009, 324, 1338–1340.
A journal article with 3 authors
Toda, S.; Stein, R.S.; Sagiya, T. Evidence from the AD 2000 Izu Islands Earthquake Swarm That Stressing Rate Governs Seismicity. Nature 2002, 419, 58–61.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Shinoda, T.; Ogawa, H.; Cornelius, F.; Toyoshima, C. Crystal Structure of the Sodium-Potassium Pump at 2.4 A Resolution. Nature 2009, 459, 446–450.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lovejoy, D.A. Neuroendocrinology; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, UK, 2005; ISBN 9780470027875.
An edited book
Bell, K.M. Learn to Tango with D; Igesund, L.I., Kelly, S., Parker, M., Eds.; Apress: Berkeley, CA, 2007; ISBN 9781590599600.
A chapter in an edited book
Ennser, K.; Aleksic, S.; Curti, F.; Forin, D.M.; Galili, M.; Karasek, M.; Oxenløwe, L.K.; Parmigiani, F.; Petropoulos, P.; Slavík, R.; et al. Optical Signal Processing Techniques for Signal Regeneration and Digital Logic. In Towards Digital Optical Networks: COST Action 291 Final Report; Tomkos, I., Spyropoulou, M., Ennser, K., Köhn, M., Mikac, B., Eds.; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2009; pp. 49–96 ISBN 9783642015236.

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
Fang, J. Frozen Poop Pills Could Fight Deadly Infections 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 Inspectors General: Actions Needed to Improve Audit Coverage of NASA; 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
Bowmar, J.S. Building Energy Efficiency and Resilience in the United States, One Disaster at a Time: Fostering Green Building Principles through Disaster Assistance. Doctoral dissertation, George Washington University: Washington, DC, 2012.

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
Shpigel, B. On Field or Film, Nothing Gets by Him. New York Times 2016, B8.

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