How to format your references using the EMBO reports citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for EMBO reports. 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
Ball P (2002) Let’s catch some rays. Nature 419: 12–14.
A journal article with 2 authors
Harrisingh MC, Nitabach MN (2008) Circadian rhythms. Integrating circadian timekeeping with cellular physiology. Science 320: 879–880.
A journal article with 3 authors
Logvenov G, Gozar A, Bozovic I (2009) High-temperature superconductivity in a single copper-oxygen plane. Science 326: 699–702.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Sawai Y, Satake K, Kamataki T, Nasu H, Shishikura M, Atwater BF, Horton BP, Kelsey HM, Nagumo T, Yamaguchi M (2004) Transient uplift after a 17th-century earthquake along the Kuril subduction zone. Science 306: 1918–1920.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Vettese F (2015) The Essential Retirement Guide. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Dediu A-H, Martín-Vide C, Truthe B, Vega-Rodríguez MA, eds. (2013) Theory and Practice of Natural Computing: Second International Conference, TPNC 2013, Cáceres, Spain, December 3-5, 2013, Proceedings. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Yamakawa H, Yoshizaki T (2016) Equilibrium Properties. In Yoshizaki T (ed.), Helical Wormlike Chains in Polymer Solutions pp 129–191. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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 EMBO reports.

Blog post
IFLScience, Tea Consumption Might Alter Gene Expression In Women, But Not Men, Last updated June 2, 2017, Accessed on June 2, 2017.


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 (2016) Information Technology: Federal Agencies Need to Address Aging Legacy Systems. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Kehoe RM (2009) Parental long-term care choices from the perspectives of their sandwich-generation adult children.

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
Vecsey G (2010) Matsui Stars in Another Classic Bronx Tale. New York Times B12.

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 titleEMBO reports
AbbreviationEMBO Rep.
ISSN (print)1469-221X
ISSN (online)1469-3178
Molecular Biology

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