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
Kawaoka, Y. (2012). H5N1: Flu transmission work is urgent. Nature 482, 155.
A journal article with 2 authors
Pritchard, M. E. and Simons, M. (2002). A satellite geodetic survey of large-scale deformation of volcanic centres in the central Andes. Nature 418, 167–171.
A journal article with 3 authors
Dragoi, V., Rivadulla, C. and Sur, M. (2001). Foci of orientation plasticity in visual cortex. Nature 411, 80–86.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Yoshida, Y., Kuroiwa, H., Misumi, O., Yoshida, M., Ohnuma, M., Fujiwara, T., Yagisawa, F., Hirooka, S., Imoto, Y., Matsushita, K., et al. (2010). Chloroplasts divide by contraction of a bundle of nanofilaments consisting of polyglucan. Science 329, 949–953.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Stenning, A., Smith, A., Rochovská, A. and Świa̧tek, D. (2010). Domesticating Neo-Liberalism. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
An edited book
Longo, G. (2014). Perspectives on Organisms: Biological time, Symmetries and Singularities. (ed. Montévil, M.) Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Borsotti, A., Breveglieri, L., Crespi Reghizzi, S. and Morzenti, A. (2015). From Ambiguous Regular Expressions to Deterministic Parsing Automata. In Implementation and Application of Automata: 20th International Conference, CIAA 2015, Umeå, Sweden, August 18-21, 2015, Proceedings (ed. Drewes, F.), pp. 35–48. 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, A. (2016). China’s Moon Rover Is Officially Dead. 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 (1993). Federal Research: Assessment of the Financial Audit for SEMATECH’s Activities in 1992. 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
Necaise, K. W. (2012). Effects of soybean-derived phytoestrogens on reproductive tract development in neonatal male and female pigs: Animal model for the human infant.

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
Brantley, B. (2017). The Dystopia Next Door. New York Times C14.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Kawaoka, 2012).
This sentence cites two references (Kawaoka, 2012; Pritchard and Simons, 2002).

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

  • Two authors: (Pritchard and Simons, 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Yoshida et al., 2010)

About the journal

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

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