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
King G (2011) Ensuring the data-rich future of the social sciences. Science 331: 719–721.
A journal article with 2 authors
Keusch GT, Medlin CA (2003) Tapping the power of small institutions. Nature 422: 561–562.
A journal article with 3 authors
Storch D, Keil P, Jetz W (2012) Universal species-area and endemics-area relationships at continental scales. Nature 488: 78–81.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Piva PG, DiLabio GA, Pitters JL, Zikovsky J, Rezeq M, Dogel S, Hofer WA, Wolkow RA (2005) Field regulation of single-molecule conductivity by a charged surface atom. Nature 435: 658–661.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lewis S (2016) Positive Psychology and Change. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Denkena B, Rienäcker A, Knoll G, Bach F-W, Maier HJ, Reithmeier E, Dinkelacker F, eds. (2015) Microstructuring of Thermo-Mechanically Highly Stressed Surfaces: Final Report of the DFG Research Group 576. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Aamodt MG (2015) Using Background Checks in the Employee Selection Process. In Hanvey C, Sady K (eds.), Practitioner’s Guide to Legal Issues in Organizations pp 85–110. 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, Famous Fossil Embryo Belongs To New Species Of Giant Oviraptor, Last updated May 9, 2017, Accessed on May 9, 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 (2012) Millennium Challenge Corporation: Results of Transportation Infrastructure Projects in Seven Countries. 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
Ma B (2012) Improving the performance of hyperspectral target detection.

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
Weiser B, Walsh MW (2016) Ramapo Official Charged in Securities Fraud Case. New York Times A23.

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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