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. Steneck RS. Ecology. Staying connected in a turbulent world. Science. 2006;311:480–1.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Bentley WE, Payne GF. Materials science. Nature’s other self-assemblers. Science. 2013;341:136–7.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Nykypanchuk D, Strey HH, Hoagland DA. Brownian motion of DNA confined within a two-dimensional array. Science. 2002;297:987–90.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Xie X, Zhou Y, Bi H, Yin K, Wan S, Sun L. Large-range control of the microstructures and properties of three-dimensional porous graphene. Sci Rep. 2013;3:2117.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Todeschini R, Baccini A. Handbook of Bibliometric Indicators. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA; 2016.
An edited book
1. Waksman G, editor. Proteomics and Protein-Protein Interactions: Biology, Chemistry, Bioinformatics, and Drug Design. Boston, MA: Springer US; 2005.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Paul WJ, Baumann C, Lutsyk P, Schmaltz S. Number Formats and Boolean Algebra. In: Baumann C, Lutsyk P, Schmaltz S, editors. System Architecture: An Ordinary Engineering Discipline. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2016. p. 33–50.

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. Fang J. Hyenas Get By With a Little Help From Their Friends of Friends. 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. [Comments on Proposed Oregon Purchase of Rail Line With Oil Overcharge Settlement]. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1987.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Shibata CL. Building positive body image in adolescent girls: An evaluation of a body image prevention program. Doctoral dissertation. California State University, Long Beach; 2017.

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. Change, Slower Than a Speeding Bullet. New York Times. 2015;:MB3.

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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