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
Klarreich, E. Top researchers plan to snub fertility conference. Nature 2001, 413, 241.
A journal article with 2 authors
Whetten, R.L.; Price, R.C. Chemistry. Nano-golden order. Science 2007, 318, 407–408.
A journal article with 3 authors
Bierhaus, E.B.; Chapman, C.R.; Merline, W.J. Secondary craters on Europa and implications for cratered surfaces. Nature 2005, 437, 1125–1127.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Hammond, S.M.; Boettcher, S.; Caudy, A.A.; Kobayashi, R.; Hannon, G.J. Argonaute2, a link between genetic and biochemical analyses of RNAi. Science 2001, 293, 1146–1150.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Nagasawa, M. Physical Chemistry of Polyelectrolyte Solutions: Advances in Chemical Physics; Advances in Chemical Physics; John Wiley & Sons, Inc: Hoboken, NJ, 2015; ISBN 9781119057338.
An edited book
Le Dret, H. Partial Differential Equations: Modeling, Analysis and Numerical Approximation; Lucquin, B., Ed.; International Series of Numerical Mathematics; 1st ed. 2016.; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2016; Vol. 168; ISBN 9783319270654.
A chapter in an edited book
Li, Z.; Gao, C.; Sun, Y. Research on Collision Detection of Tree Swaying in Wind. In Computer Science for Environmental Engineering and EcoInformatics: International Workshop, CSEEE 2011, Kunming, China, July 29-31, 2011, Proceedings, Part II; Yu, Y., Yu, Z., Zhao, J., Eds.; Communications in Computer and Information Science; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2011; pp. 18–23 ISBN 9783642226908.

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. Google Releases Stunning Underwater Street View For World Oceans Day (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 Initial Pilot Training: Better Management Controls Are Needed to Improve FAA Oversight; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2011;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Moyer, A.S. The A+ Schools Program and School Improvement. Doctoral dissertation, Lindenwood University: St. Charles, MO, 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
Leland, J. Shepard’s Playground. New York Times 2017, C1.

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 [1,1].
This sentence cites four references [1,1,1,1].

About the journal

Full journal titleBiology
AbbreviationBiology (Basel)
ISSN (online)2079-7737

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