How to format your references using the Current Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Current 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
Aldiss, B.W. (2001). Desperately seeking aliens. Nature 409, 1080–1082.
A journal article with 2 authors
Anderson, B.L., and Winawer, J. (2005). Image segmentation and lightness perception. Nature 434, 79–83.
A journal article with 3 authors
Saitou, M., Barton, S.C., and Surani, M.A. (2002). A molecular programme for the specification of germ cell fate in mice. Nature 418, 293–300.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Wei, D., Li, H.-O., Cao, G., Luo, G., Zheng, Z.-X., Tu, T., Xiao, M., Guo, G.-C., Jiang, H.-W., and Guo, G.-P. (2013). Tuning inter-dot tunnel coupling of an etched graphene double quantum dot by adjacent metal gates. Sci. Rep. 3, 3175.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Kuehni, R.G. (2012). Color (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
An edited book
Pezzulo, G., Butz, M.V., Castelfranchi, C., and Falcone, R. eds. (2008). The Challenge of Anticipation: A Unifying Framework for the Analysis and Design of Artificial Cognitive Systems (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer).
A chapter in an edited book
Hilton, M., Nelson, N., McDonald, H., McDonald, S., Metoyer, R., and Dig, D. (2016). TDDViz: Using Software Changes to Understand Conformance to Test Driven Development. In Agile Processes, in Software Engineering, and Extreme Programming: 17th International Conference, XP 2016, Edinburgh, UK, May 24-27, 2016, Proceedings Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing., H. Sharp and T. Hall, eds. (Cham: Springer International Publishing), pp. 53–65.

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 Current Biology.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2014). Amazonian Turtle Mothers “Talk” To Their Offspring. IFLScience. Available at: [Accessed October 30, 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
Government Accountability Office (2003). Title I: Although Definitions of Administrative Expenditures Vary, Almost All Districts Studied Spent Less Than 10 Percent on Administration (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
Boggs, B.D. (2012). An assessment of campus police departments across Mississippi’s public community and junior colleges.

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
Somaiya, R., Schaap, R., Mueller, A., Rapkin, M., Spitznagel, E., Samuels, T., Lyall, S., Bennett, R., Mueller, A., Leff, A., et al. (2012). Why Are They Always Apologizing? New York Times, MM34.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference [2].
This sentence cites two references [2,4].
This sentence cites four references [2,4,6,8].

About the journal

Full journal titleCurrent Biology
AbbreviationCurr. Biol.
ISSN (print)0960-9822
ISSN (online)1879-0445
ScopeGeneral Agricultural and Biological Sciences
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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