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
Baughman, R. H. (2005). Materials science. Playing nature’s game with artificial muscles. Science 308, 63–65.
A journal article with 2 authors
Granick, S. and Bae, S. C. (2008). Chemistry. A curious antipathy for water. Science 322, 1477–1478.
A journal article with 3 authors
Ohmoto, H., Watanabe, Y. and Kumazawa, K. (2004). Evidence from massive siderite beds for a CO2-rich atmosphere before approximately 1.8 billion years ago. Nature 429, 395–399.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Hagleitner, C., Hierlemann, A., Lange, D., Kummer, A., Kerness, N., Brand, O. and Baltes, H. (2001). Smart single-chip gas sensor microsystem. Nature 414, 293–296.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Epstein, M. (2012). The Elements of Continuum Biomechanics. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Magedanz, T., Karmouch, A., Pierre, S. and Venieris, I. eds. (2005). Mobility Aware Technologies and Applications: Second International Workshop, MATA 2005, Montreal, Canada, October 17-19, 2005. Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Lin, C. Y.-Y., Edvinsson, L., Chen, J. and Beding, T. (2013). Beyond the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. In National Intellectual Capital and the Financial Crisis in Brazil, Russia, India, China, Korea, and South Africa (ed. Edvinsson, L.), Chen, J.), and Beding, T.), pp. 63–70. New York, NY: 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
Hale, T. (2017). NASA Don’t Know What This Hole On Mars Is. 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 (2003). Federal Student Aid: Expanding Eligibility for Less Than Halftime Students Could Increase Program Costs, But Benefits Uncertain. 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
Caltrider, C. S. (2017). Critical Pedagogy Unit of Ceramics Instruction: Fostering Civic Engagement in California High School Students.

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
Kenigsberg, B. (2016). Review: ‘Hogtown’ Tells a Poetic Detective Story in Chicago. New York Times C11.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Baughman, 2005).
This sentence cites two references (Baughman, 2005; Granick and Bae, 2008).

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

  • Two authors: (Granick and Bae, 2008)
  • Three or more authors: (Hagleitner et al., 2001)

About the journal

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

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