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

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for BMC Plant 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. Moseley SH. Astronomy. The other half of the universe? Science. 2014;346:696–7.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Brown LS, Lankford WF. Sustainability: Clean cooking empowers women. Nature. 2015;521:284–5.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Beerling DJ, Osborne CP, Chaloner WG. Evolution of leaf-form in land plants linked to atmospheric CO2 decline in the Late Palaeozoic era. Nature. 2001;410:352–4.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Subramani A, Alsidawi S, Jagannathan S, Sumita K, Sasaki AT, Aronow B, et al. The brain microenvironment negatively regulates miRNA-768-3p to promote K-ras expression and lung cancer metastasis. Sci Rep. 2013;3:2392.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Bliesner DM. Establishing a CGMP Laboratory Audit System. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2006.
An edited book
1. Bal PM, Kooij DTAM, Rousseau DM, editors. Aging Workers and the Employee-Employer Relationship. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2015.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Lund-Durlacher D. Corporate Social Responsibility and Tourism. In: Moscardo G, Benckendorff P, editors. Education for Sustainability in Tourism: A Handbook of Processes, Resources, and Strategies. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2015. p. 59–73.

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 Plant Biology.

Blog post
1. Andrew E. Can’t We Just Remove Carbon Dioxide From The Air To Fix Climate Change? Not Yet. IFLScience. 2015. 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. Slot-Controlled Airports: FAA’s Rules Could Be Improved to Enhance Competition and Use of Available Capacity. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2012.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Siani JM. Costs and benefits of cooperative infant care in wild golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia). Doctoral dissertation. University of Maryland, College Park; 2009.

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. Kelly M. Hillary Clinton Visits Capitol In Vivid Display of Her Clout. New York Times. 1993;:A1.

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 Plant Biology
AbbreviationBMC Plant Biol.
ISSN (online)1471-2229
ScopePlant Science

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