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
Kealey, T. More Is Less. Economists and Governments Lag Decades behind Derek Price’s Thinking. Nature 2000, 405, 279.
A journal article with 2 authors
Hannonen, M.; Sundström, L. Sociobiology: Worker Nepotism among Polygynous Ants. Nature 2003, 421, 910.
A journal article with 3 authors
Li, J.; An, J.; Ting, C.S. Interaction-Induced Localization of Mobile Impurities in Ultracold Systems. Sci. Rep. 2013, 3, 3147.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Xiang, Y.; Dai, X.; Guo, J.; Zhang, H.; Wen, S.; Tang, D. Critical Coupling with Graphene-Based Hyperbolic Metamaterials. Sci. Rep. 2014, 4, 5483.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Scanlan, E.A. Fundraising Consultants; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2009; ISBN 9781118386859.
An edited book
Multidisciplinary Approach to Obesity: From Assessment to Treatment; Lenzi, A., Migliaccio, S., Donini, L.M., Eds.; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2015; ISBN 9783319090443.
A chapter in an edited book
Delport, W.; Olivier, M.S. Cloud Separation: Stuck Inside the Cloud. In Trust, Privacy and Security in Digital Business: 9th International Conference, TrustBus 2012, Vienna, Austria, September 3-7, 2012. Proceedings; Fischer-Hübner, S., Katsikas, S., Quirchmayr, G., Eds.; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2012; pp. 36–49 ISBN 9783642322860.

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. Scientists Shave Spider’s Moustaches To See If They Help Lure Prey 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 Public Community Colleges and Technical Schools: Most Schools Use Both Credit and Noncredit Programs for Workforce Development; 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
Peters, A. The Mark of Gender: Depicting Power and the Female Body in Colonial Peru. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach: Long Beach, CA, 2009.

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
Vecsey, G. Project Turns to Architect It Knows Well. 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