How to format your references using the Biology Direct citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Biology Direct. 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
1. Moritz MA. Wildfires ignite debate on global warming. Nature. 2012;487:273.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Rosenkranz JA, Grace AA. Dopamine-mediated modulation of odour-evoked amygdala potentials during pavlovian conditioning. Nature. 2002;417:282–7.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Tilmes S, Müller R, Salawitch R. The sensitivity of polar ozone depletion to proposed geoengineering schemes. Science. 2008;320:1201–4.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Smith MD, Roheim CA, Crowder LB, Halpern BS, Turnipseed M, Anderson JL, et al. Economics. Sustainability and global seafood. Science. 2010;327:784–6.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Gilmore R, Lefranc M. The Topology of Chaos. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA; 2011.
An edited book
1. Lirkov I, Margenov S, Waśniewski J, editors. Large-Scale Scientific Computing: 5th International Conference, LSSC 2005, Sozopol, Bulgaria, June 6-10, 2005. Revised Papers. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2006.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Dudgeon R. Emergency Medical Services. In: Wolfson N, Lerner A, Roshal L, editors. Orthopedics in Disasters: Orthopedic Injuries in Natural Disasters and Mass Casualty Events. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2016. p. 29–35.

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 Direct.

Blog post
1. Hamilton K. Check Out This Huge, Spindly Squid Filmed Deep Beneath The Sea [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2016 [cited 2018 Oct 30]. Available from:


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
1. Government Accountability Office. Geographic Information Systems: Status at Selected Agencies. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1990 Aug. Report No.: IMTEC-90-74FS.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Dimick KE. Response to Intervention research to practice: Exploring a school in transition—a case study [Doctoral dissertation]. [Long Beach, CA]: California State University, Long Beach; 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
1. Goldstein J, Schweber N. Chokehold Complaints Are Focus of City Study. New York Times. 2014 Jul 20;A19.

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 Direct
AbbreviationBiol. Direct
ISSN (online)1745-6150
ScopeGeneral Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Applied Mathematics
Modelling and Simulation

Other styles