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
Tata, J. (2004). The domino effect. Nature 431, 513.
A journal article with 2 authors
Tan, L. W. H. and Subramaniam, R. (2002). Education. Science and the student entrepreneur. Science 298, 1556.
A journal article with 3 authors
Alonso, S., Sagués, F. and Mikhailov, A. S. (2003). Taming Winfree turbulence of scroll waves in excitable media. Science 299, 1722–1725.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Schellekens, M., Hoppeler, R., Perrin, A., Gomes, J. V., Boiron, D., Aspect, A. and Westbrook, C. I. (2005). Hanbury Brown Twiss effect for ultracold quantum gases. Science 310, 648–651.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lu, J., Zhao, X. and Yamada, S. (2016). Harmonic Balance Finite Element Method. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd.
An edited book
Williams, P. J. and Newhouse, C. P. eds. (2013). Digital Representations of Student Performance for Assessment. Rotterdam: SensePublishers.
A chapter in an edited book
Zeltz, C., Lu, N. and Gullberg, D. (2014). Integrin α11β1: A Major Collagen Receptor on Fibroblastic Cells. In I Domain Integrins (ed. Gullberg, D.), pp. 73–83. 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, D. (2012). Why We Can’t Spin A Silken Yarn As Strong As A Spider Can. 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 (2001). Aviation Competition: Restricting Airline Ticketing Rules Unlikely to Help Consumers. 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
Rountree, B. L. (2010). Theory and practice of dynamic voltage /frequency scaling in the high performance computing environment.

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
Murphy, M. J. O. (2017). A Madcap Austen, Alfresco. New York Times C1.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Tata, 2004).
This sentence cites two references (Tan and Subramaniam, 2002; Tata, 2004).

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

  • Two authors: (Tan and Subramaniam, 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Schellekens et al., 2005)

About the journal

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

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