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
Marín O (2010) Journal club. A developmental neurobiologist looks at how damage induces cell birth in the adult brain. Nature 465: 401.
A journal article with 2 authors
Trenberth KE, Fasullo JT (2010) Climate change. Tracking Earth’s energy. Science 328: 316–317.
A journal article with 3 authors
Kiessling W, Simpson C, Foote M (2010) Reefs as cradles of evolution and sources of biodiversity in the Phanerozoic. Science 327: 196–198.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Weisberg JM, Johnston S, Koribalski B, Stanimirovic S (2005) Discovery of pulsed OH maser emission stimulated by a pulsar. Science 309: 106–110.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Kompare D (2010) CSI. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.
An edited book
Wu Z (2014) Earthquake Phenomenology from the Field: The April 20, 2013, Lushan Earthquake. Springer, Singapore.
A chapter in an edited book
Waltman L, Yan E (2014) PageRank-Related Methods for Analyzing Citation Networks. In Ding Y, Rousseau R, Wolfram D (eds.), Measuring Scholarly Impact: Methods and Practice pp 83–100. Springer International Publishing, Cham.

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, Marine Animals Have Been Increasing In Size Throughout History, Last updated February 20, 2015, Accessed on February 20, 2015.


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 (2013) Rail Safety: Preliminary Observations on Federal Rail Safety Oversight and Positive Train Control Implementation. 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
Robert NA (2017) Cortile: World Building & the Traveler Archetype.

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
Wagner J (2016) After Striking Out, Nationals Swing a Trade. 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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