How to format your references using the Biology Open citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Biology Open. 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
Leonard, D. C. (2007). Astronomy. A supernova riddle. Science 315, 193–194.
A journal article with 2 authors
Alonso, J. M. and Stepanova, A. N. (2004). The ethylene signaling pathway. Science 306, 1513–1515.
A journal article with 3 authors
Matsunami, H., Montmayeur, J. P. and Buck, L. B. (2000). A family of candidate taste receptors in human and mouse. Nature 404, 601–604.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Meléndez, A., Tallóczy, Z., Seaman, M., Eskelinen, E.-L., Hall, D. H. and Levine, B. (2003). Autophagy genes are essential for dauer development and life-span extension in C. elegans. Science 301, 1387–1391.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Xing, B., Vecitis, C. D. and Senesi, N. (2016). Engineered Nanoparticles and the Environment: Biophysicochemical Processes and Toxicity. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Berry, M. W., Hj. Mohamed, A. and Yap, B. W. eds. (2016). Soft Computing in Data Science: Second International Conference, SCDS 2016, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, September 21-22, 2016, Proceedings. Singapore: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Hashemi, S. H. and Domairry, D. (2014). Introduction of Considerable Oscillatory Systems. In Dynamics and Vibrations: Progress in Nonlinear Analysis (ed. Ganji, D. D.), pp. 185–247. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

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 Open.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2015). Introducing Graphene’s Younger Cousin: Stanene. IFLScience.


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 (2010). Telecommunications: National Broadband Plan Reflects the Experiences of Leading Countries, but Implementation Will Be Challenging. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Moss, K. A. (2017). The Development and Diffusion of the Cult of Isis in the Hellenistic Period.

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
Hodgman, J. (2017). Bonus Advice From Judge John Hodgman. New York Times MM18.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Leonard, 2007).
This sentence cites two references (Alonso and Stepanova, 2004; Leonard, 2007).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Alonso and Stepanova, 2004)
  • Three or more authors: (Meléndez et al., 2003)

About the journal

Full journal titleBiology Open
AbbreviationBiol. Open
ISSN (online)2046-6390

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