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
Worm, B. (2015). ECOLOGY. A most unusual (super)predator. Science 349, 784–785.
A journal article with 2 authors
Camasso, N. M. and Sanford, M. S. (2015). Design, synthesis, and carbon-heteroatom coupling reactions of organometallic nickel(IV) complexes. Science 347, 1218–1220.
A journal article with 3 authors
Joachim, C., Gimzewski, J. K. and Aviram, A. (2000). Electronics using hybrid-molecular and mono-molecular devices. Nature 408, 541–548.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Chierico, L., Joseph, A. S., Lewis, A. L. and Battaglia, G. (2014). Live cell imaging of membrane/cytoskeleton interactions and membrane topology. Sci. Rep. 4, 6056.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Micouin, P. (2014). Model-Based Systems Engineering. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Irwin, L. N. (2011). Cosmic Biology: How Life Could Evolve on Other Worlds. (ed. Schulze-Makuch, D.) New York, NY: Praxis.
A chapter in an edited book
Boundy-Mills, K. (2006). Methods for Investigating Yeast Biodiversity. In Biodiversity and Ecophysiology of Yeasts (ed. Péter, G.) and Rosa, C.), pp. 67–100. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

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
Fang, J. (2014). Corals Eat By Stirring Up Turbulent Vortexes. 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 (1996). Education and Employment Issue Area Plan--Fiscal Years 1996-98. 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
Venegas Carro, G. I. (2017). The Slow Movements of Anton Bruckner’s Symphonies: Dialogical Perspectives.

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
Phillips-Sandy, M. (2013). Follow Me, Follow My Mom. New York Times A19.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Worm, 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Camasso and Sanford, 2015; Worm, 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Camasso and Sanford, 2015)
  • Three or more authors: (Chierico et al., 2014)

About the journal

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

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