How to format your references using the BMC Cell Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for BMC Cell Biology. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
1. Bohannon J. The Gonzo Scientist. Results from the science dance match-up challenge. Science. 2009;324:1262.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Saha K, Hurlbut JB. Research ethics: Treat donors as partners in biobank research. Nature. 2011;478:312–3.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Fricke HC, Hencecroth J, Hoerner ME. Lowland-upland migration of sauropod dinosaurs during the Late Jurassic epoch. Nature. 2011;480:513–5.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Ye R, Ye Y-H, Ma HF, Cao L, Ma J, Wyrowski F, et al. Experimental imaging properties of immersion microscale spherical lenses. Sci Rep. 2014;4:3769.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Esmailzadeh R. Broadband Wireless Communications Business. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2006.
An edited book
1. Bellocchio F. 3D Surface Reconstruction: Multi-Scale Hierarchical Approaches. New York, NY: Springer; 2013.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Wu T, Liu J, Tang X, Gu M, Gu Y, Zhou J, et al. Syntactic Categorization and Semantic Interpretation of Chinese Nominal Compounds. In: Lin C-Y, Xue N, Zhao D, Huang X, Feng Y, editors. Natural Language Understanding and Intelligent Applications: 5th CCF Conference on Natural Language Processing and Chinese Computing, NLPCC 2016, and 24th International Conference on Computer Processing of Oriental Languages, ICCPOL 2016, Kunming, China, December 2–6, 2016, Proceedings. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2016. p. 51–62.

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 BMC Cell Biology.

Blog post
1. Taub B. Riding A Roller Coaster Can Help Get Rid Of Kidney Stones. IFLScience. 2016. Accessed 30 Oct 2018.


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
1. Government Accountability Office. NASA Aeronautics: Impact of Technology Transfer Activities Is Uncertain. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1993.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
1. Gray JL. Overcoming the threat of racial stereotyping in the workplace. Doctoral dissertation. Pepperdine University; 2014.

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
1. Gustines GG. A Bird? A Plane? La Borinqueña! New York Times. 2016;:MB4.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1, 2].
This sentence cites four references [1–4].

About the journal

Full journal titleBMC Cell Biology
AbbreviationBMC Cell Biol.
ISSN (online)1471-2121
ScopeCell Biology

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