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
McCook, A. (2011). Education: Rethinking PhDs. Nature 472, 280–282.
A journal article with 2 authors
Tapscott, S. J. and Thornton, C. A. (2001). Biomedicine. Reconstructing myotonic dystrophy. Science 293, 816–817.
A journal article with 3 authors
Maier, T., Leibundgut, M. and Ban, N. (2008). The crystal structure of a mammalian fatty acid synthase. Science 321, 1315–1322.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Alter, G., Heckerman, D., Schneidewind, A., Fadda, L., Kadie, C. M., Carlson, J. M., Oniangue-Ndza, C., Martin, M., Li, B., Khakoo, S. I., et al. (2011). HIV-1 adaptation to NK-cell-mediated immune pressure. Nature 476, 96–100.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Davey, K. J. (2014). Building Winning Algorithmic Trading Systems. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Guo, S., Liao, X., Liu, F. and Zhu, Y. eds. (2016). Collaborative Computing: Networking, Applications, and Worksharing: 11th International Conference, CollaborateCom 2015, Wuhan, November 10-11, 2015, China. Proceedings. 1st ed. 2016. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Giuffrida, S., Di Mauro, S. and Valenti, A. (2016). Cap Rate and the Historic City. Past and Future of the Real Estate of Noto (Italy). In Computational Science and Its Applications -- ICCSA 2016: 16th International Conference, Beijing, China, July 4-7, 2016, Proceedings, Part IV (ed. Gervasi, O.), Murgante, B.), Misra, S.), Rocha, A. M. A. C.), Torre, C. M.), Taniar, D.), Apduhan, B. O.), Stankova, E.), and Wang, S.), pp. 63–78. 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 Open.

Blog post
Andrew, D. (2016). The Real Reason Clowns Scare Us. 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 (2012). Aviation Safety: FAA Is Taking Steps to Improve Data, but Challenges for Managing Safety Risks Remain. 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
Hufnagel, D. (2005). Search for the Cabibbo-Supressed D+ Meson Decays D+ → π+π 0 and D+ → K+ π0.

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
Crow, K. (2002). Claude Brown’s Harlem, Still on the Mind. New York Times 144.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (McCook, 2011).
This sentence cites two references (McCook, 2011; Tapscott and Thornton, 2001).

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

  • Two authors: (Tapscott and Thornton, 2001)
  • Three or more authors: (Alter et al., 2011)

About the journal

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

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