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
Strom, S.L. Microbial ecology of ocean biogeochemistry: a community perspective. Science 2008, 320, 1043–1045.
A journal article with 2 authors
Atkinson, T.; Leeder, M. Geology. Canyon cutting on a grand time scale. Science 2008, 319, 1343–1344.
A journal article with 3 authors
Luo, Z.X.; Crompton, A.W.; Sun, A.L. A new mammaliaform from the early Jurassic and evolution of mammalian characteristics. Science 2001, 292, 1535–1540.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Paton, J.J.; Belova, M.A.; Morrison, S.E.; Salzman, C.D. The primate amygdala represents the positive and negative value of visual stimuli during learning. Nature 2006, 439, 865–870.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lowman, M. A Practical Guide to Analytics for Governments; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2017; ISBN 9781119362517.
An edited book
Vathy-Fogarassy, Á. Graph-Based Clustering and Data Visualization Algorithms; Abonyi, J., Ed.; SpringerBriefs in Computer Science; Springer: London, 2013; ISBN 9781447151579.
A chapter in an edited book
Ishimori, H.; Kobayashi, T.; Ohki, H.; Okada, H.; Shimizu, Y.; Tanimoto, M. Δ(3N 2). In An Introduction to Non-Abelian Discrete Symmetries for Particle Physicists; Kobayashi, T., Ohki, H., Okada, H., Shimizu, Y., Tanimoto, M., Eds.; Lecture Notes in Physics; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2012; pp. 87–95 ISBN 9783642308048.

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
Andrews, R. Remarkable New CRISPR System Targets RNA, Rather Than DNA 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 Air Traffic Control: System Management Capabilities Improved, but More Can Be Done to Institutionalize Improvements; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2004;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Gonzalez, S.N. Analysis of the impact of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act on California’s children: A report card on the CalWORKs program. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach: Long Beach, CA, 2010.

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
Protess, B. Trump Picks an Overseer of Derivatives Trading. New York Times 2017, A11.

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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