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
Palmer, R. Drugs: Lines of defence. Nature 2011, 480, S9-10.
A journal article with 2 authors
Sharon, D.; Grinvald, A. Dynamics and constancy in cortical spatiotemporal patterns of orientation processing. Science 2002, 295, 512–515.
A journal article with 3 authors
Nagashima, K.; Krot, A.N.; Yurimoto, H. Stardust silicates from primitive meteorites. Nature 2004, 428, 921–924.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Pietrzak, B.; Sharma, V.; Wasalathanthri, D.; Ellwanger, J.H.; Sanganyado, E.; Buschke, F.; Beardsley, F.R.; Agarwal, D.; Jensen, M.M.; Easun, T.L.; et al. Nurturing connections to the environment. Science 2018, 362, 886–888.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Peterson, R.L.; Murtha, F.F. MarketPsych; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2010; ISBN 9781118267875.
An edited book
Urologic Robotic Surgery; Stock, J.A., Esposito, M.P., Lanteri, V.J., Albala, D.M., Eds.; Current Clinical Urology; Humana Press: Totowa, NJ, 2008; ISBN 9781588296153.
A chapter in an edited book
Jackson, D. A New, Node-Focused Model for Genetic Programming. In Genetic Programming: 15th European Conference, EuroGP 2012, Málaga, Spain, April 11-13, 2012. Proceedings; Moraglio, A., Silva, S., Krawiec, K., Machado, P., Cotta, C., Eds.; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2012; pp. 49–60 ISBN 9783642291388.

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
Andrew, E. Understanding Sleep Paralysis: A Terrifying But Unique State Of Consciousness Available online: (accessed on Oct 30, 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 Information Technology: An Audit Guide For Assessing Acquisition Risks; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1992;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Zhuang, S. Enhancing Implicit Finite Element Sheet Forming Simulation. Doctoral dissertation, Ohio State University: Columbus, OH, 2008.

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
Walsh, M.W. Last Mile May Be Hardest in Former A.I.G. Chief’s Legal Journey. New York Times 2010, B3.

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