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
Kleiner, K. (2008). Toronto rising. Nature 453, 252–253.
A journal article with 2 authors
Wong, W. and Barlow, H. (2000). Tunes and templates. Nature 404, 952–953.
A journal article with 3 authors
Roditi, H. A., Fisher, N. S. and Sañudo-Wilhelmy, S. A. (2000). Uptake of dissolved organic carbon and trace elements by zebra mussels. Nature 407, 78–80.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Hurford, T. A., Helfenstein, P., Hoppa, G. V., Greenberg, R. and Bills, B. G. (2007). Eruptions arising from tidally controlled periodic openings of rifts on Enceladus. Nature 447, 292–294.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bayuk, J. L., Healey, J., Rohmeyer, P., Sachs, M. H., Schmidt, J. and Weiss, J. (2012). Cyber Security Policy Guidebook. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Adams, C. (2007). Web Standards Creativity: Innovations in Web Design with XHTML, CSS, and DOM Scripting. (ed. Boulton, M.), Clarke, A.), Collison, S.), Croft, J.), Featherstone, D.), Lloyd, I.), Marcotte, E.), Rubin, D.), and Weychert, R.) Berkeley, CA: Apress.
A chapter in an edited book
Luenberger, D. G. and Ye, Y. (2016). Interior-Point Methods. In Linear and Nonlinear Programming (ed. Ye, Y.), pp. 115–147. 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
Carpineti, C. (2017). This “Cosmic Jellyfish” is Weird and Wonderful. 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 (1983). Procedures for Making Grant Awards Under Three Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs. 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
Garcia, R. (2010). The California State University education doctorate: Public policy for the public good.

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
MacFARQUHAR, N. (2016). Putin Tightens His Grip on Russia’s Parliament With an Election Rout. New York Times A8.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Kleiner, 2008).
This sentence cites two references (Kleiner, 2008; Wong and Barlow, 2000).

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

  • Two authors: (Wong and Barlow, 2000)
  • Three or more authors: (Hurford et al., 2007)

About the journal

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

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