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
Kling J (2015) Cytometry: Measure for measure. Nature 518: 439–443.
A journal article with 2 authors
Stewart SA, Allen PJ (2002) A 20-km-diameter multi-ringed impact structure in the North Sea. Nature 418: 520–523.
A journal article with 3 authors
Giles S, Friedman M, Brazeau MD (2015) Osteichthyan-like cranial conditions in an Early Devonian stem gnathostome. Nature 520: 82–85.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Pinkston JM, Garigan D, Hansen M, Kenyon C (2006) Mutations that increase the life span of C. elegans inhibit tumor growth. Science 313: 971–975.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Nicholls DL, Piergrossi JC, Gibertoni C de S, Daniel MA (2013) Psychoanalytic Thinking in Occupational Therapy. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, West Sussex, UK.
An edited book
Dong L (2012) Cryptographic Protocol: Security Analysis Based on Trusted Freshness. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Deliagina TG (2008) Stabilization of Posture. In Arena P (ed.), Dynamical Systems, Wave-Based Computation and Neuro-Inspired Robots pp 41–53. Springer, Vienna.

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, Uranus’ Unusually Stormy Activity Excites Scientists, Last updated November 13, 2014, Accessed on November 13, 2014.


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 (1986) Deactivating Research Vessels: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Use of Private Ships. 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
Porter J (2010) Closing the classroom door: Denying the political, embracing the moral.

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
Sisario B, Ember S (2016) Facing the Music. New York Times B1.

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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