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
Sloat, D. L. (2009). South Dakota school replies to sexual harassment claims. Nature 460, 949.
A journal article with 2 authors
Helffrich, G. and Kaneshima, S. (2010). Outer-core compositional stratification from observed core wave speed profiles. Nature 468, 807–810.
A journal article with 3 authors
Miyagoshi, T., Kageyama, A. and Sato, T. (2010). Zonal flow formation in the Earth’s core. Nature 463, 793–796.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Parrish, J., Li, L., Klotz, K., Ledwich, D., Wang, X. and Xue, D. (2001). Mitochondrial endonuclease G is important for apoptosis in C. elegans. Nature 412, 90–94.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Barnes, P. (2008). The JCT 05 Standard Building Sub-Contract. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
An edited book
Ghosh, T. K. (2011). Energy Resources and Systems: Volume 2: Renewable Resources. (ed. Prelas, M. A.) Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
A chapter in an edited book
Martínez-Lage, J. F., Pérez-Espejo, M. A. and Turgut, A. T. (2015). Iatrogenic Complications of CSF Shunting. In Complications of CSF Shunting in Hydrocephalus: Prevention, Identification, and Management (ed. Di Rocco, C.), Turgut, M.), Jallo, G.), and Martínez-Lage, J. F.), pp. 81–107. 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
Andrew, E. (2016). At Chernobyl And Fukushima, Radioactivity Has Seriously Harmed Wildlife. 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). Airline Scheduling: Airline Practices in Establishing and Maintaining Connecting Times. 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
Ji, Y. (2017). Dynamic Genetic Control: Manipulating Cell Behaviors Using Heat.

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
Qiu, L. (2017). On When They Met, and Those Vacancies. New York Times A16.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Sloat, 2009).
This sentence cites two references (Helffrich and Kaneshima, 2010; Sloat, 2009).

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

  • Two authors: (Helffrich and Kaneshima, 2010)
  • Three or more authors: (Parrish et al., 2001)

About the journal

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

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