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. Hayes JM. Geochemistry. Earth’s redox history. Science. 2011;334:1654–5.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Wennerås C, Wold A. A chair of one’s own. Nature. 2000;408:647.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Hauf S, Waizenegger IC, Peters JM. Cohesin cleavage by separase required for anaphase and cytokinesis in human cells. Science. 2001;293:1320–3.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Lin W, Wang Y, Gorby Y, Nealson K, Pan Y. Integrating niche-based process and spatial process in biogeography of magnetotactic bacteria. Sci Rep. 2013;3:1643.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Fight A. Understanding International Bank Risk. Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd; 2004.
An edited book
1. Kelemen A, Abraham A, Liang Y, editors. Computational Intelligence in Medical Informatics. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2008.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Liu J. Towards Network Autonomy. In: Wang G-Y, Peters JF, Skowron A, Yao Y, editors. Rough Sets and Knowledge Technology: First International Conference, RSKT 2006, Chongquing, China, July 24-26, 2006 Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2006. p. 32–32.

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. Hale T. Giant 10-Meter-Long Anaconda Found On Construction Site In Brazil [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. General Services Issues. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1992 Dec. Report No.: OCG-93-28TR.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Becker M. Women’s Descriptions Six Months Post Notification of Positive BRCA 1/2 Genetic Mutations [Doctoral dissertation]. [Minneapolis, MN]: Capella University; 2017.

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. Kelly M. Notes From the Underground: New Yorkers Share Their Subway Stories. New York Times. 2002 Dec 22;146.

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

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