How to format your references using the Biology Letters citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Biology Letters. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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.
Austin J. 2014 A science career story. Science 344, 934.
A journal article with 2 authors
1.
Correia ACM, Laskar J. 2004 Mercury’s capture into the 3/2 spin-orbit resonance as a result of its chaotic dynamics. Nature 429, 848–850.
A journal article with 3 authors
1.
Kwak S-H, Shen R, Schiefelbein J. 2005 Positional signaling mediated by a receptor-like kinase in Arabidopsis. Science 307, 1111–1113.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
1.
Erdman N, Poeppelmeier KR, Asta M, Warschkow O, Ellis DE, Marks LD. 2002 The structure and chemistry of the TiO(2)-rich surface of SrTiO(3) (001). Nature 419, 55–58.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1.
Lalanne C. 2014 Mechanical Shock. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
1.
Jäger T, Kümmel G, editors. 2007 Private Military and Security Companies: Chances, Problems, Pitfalls and Prospects. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
A chapter in an edited book
1.
Wilk S, Michalowski M, Tan X, Michalowski W. 2014 Using First-Order Logic to Represent Clinical Practice Guidelines and to Mitigate Adverse Interactions. In Knowledge Representation for Health Care: 6th International Workshop, KR4HC 2014, held as part of the Vienna Summer of Logic, VSL 2014, Vienna, Austria, July 21, 2014. Revised Selected Papers (eds S Miksch, D Riaño, A ten Teije), pp. 45–61. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

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 Letters.

Blog post
1.
Davis J. 2016 Female Lions In Botswana Found To Grow Manes And Display Male Behaviors. IFLScience. See https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/female-lions-in-botswana-found-to-grow-manes-and-display-male-behaviors/ (accessed on 30 October 2018).

Reports

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. 1994 Longer Combination Trucks: Potential Infrastructure Impacts, Productivity Benefits, and Safety Concerns.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1.
Vega Aguirre JC. 2008 Study of small business leadership as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Doctoral dissertation, University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ.

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.
Barron J. 2016 Now Arriving on the New York Subway: Free E-Books, Timed for Your Commute. New York Times, 29 August. , A15.

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 Letters
AbbreviationBiol. Lett.
ISSN (print)1744-9561
ISSN (online)1744-957X
ScopeGeneral Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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