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
Doudna, J. (2015). Perspective: Embryo editing needs scrutiny. Nature 528, S6.
A journal article with 2 authors
Alonso, D. and Pascual, M. (2006). Comment on “A keystone mutualism drives pattern in a power function.” Science 313, 1739; author reply 1739.
A journal article with 3 authors
Savrasov, S. Y., Kotliar, G. and Abrahams, E. (2001). Correlated electrons in delta-plutonium within a dynamical mean-field picture. Nature 410, 793–795.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Kim, C. H., Oda, T., Itoh, M., Jiang, D., Artinger, K. B., Chandrasekharappa, S. C., Driever, W. and Chitnis, A. B. (2000). Repressor activity of Headless/Tcf3 is essential for vertebrate head formation. Nature 407, 913–916.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lalanne, C. (2014). Specification Development. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Parab, J. S. (2008). Practical Aspects of Embedded System Design using Microcontrollers. (ed. Shinde, S. A.), Shelake, V. G.), Kamat, R. K.), and Naik, G. M.) Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
A chapter in an edited book
Ciardiello, F. and De Vita, F. (2005). Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors in cancer therapy. In Advances in Targeted Cancer Therapy (ed. Herrling, P. L.), Matter, A.), and Schultz, R. M.), pp. 93–115. Basel: Birkhäuser.

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). Pain Is More Than A Physical Process – Now A Study In Mice Suggests It May Even Be Socially Transferable. 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 (1988). Federal Research: Small Business Involvement in Federal Research and Development. 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
Woodworth, J. W. (2017). Secure Semantic Search over Encrypted Big Data in the Cloud.

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. (2001). Plan for a Bryant Park Carousel Comes Around Yet Again. 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 (Doudna, 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Alonso and Pascual, 2006; Doudna, 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Alonso and Pascual, 2006)
  • Three or more authors: (Kim et al., 2000)

About the journal

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

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