How to format your references using the Frontiers in Life Science citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Frontiers in Life Science. 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
Hansen B. 2000. A bright future for dark matter. Nature. 403:30–31.
A journal article with 2 authors
Begbie J, Graham A. 2001. Integration between the epibranchial placodes and the hindbrain. Science. 294:595–598.
A journal article with 3 authors
Prochaska JX, Howk JC, Wolfe AM. 2003. The elemental abundance pattern in a galaxy at z = 2.626. Nature. 423:57–59.
A journal article with 12 or more authors
King DA, Peckham C, Waage JK, Brownlie J, Woolhouse MEJ. 2006. Epidemiology. Infectious diseases: preparing for the future. Science. 313:1392–1393.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Svensson H. 2012. Cable-Stayed Bridges. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
An edited book
Marsh LK, Chapman CA, editors. 2013. Primates in Fragments: Complexity and Resilience. New York, NY: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Sturmey P, Williams DE. 2016. Behavioral Assessment and Treatment: An Overview. In: Williams DE, editor. Pica in Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. Cham: Springer International Publishing; p. 41–63.

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 Frontiers in Life Science.

Blog post
Davis J. 2015. First-Ever Field Observations Of Rare And Elusive Whale. IFLScience [Internet]. [cited 2018 Oct 30]. Available from:


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. 1976. Construction of a Computer Facilities Building by the Social Security Administration: Justification and Alternatives. 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
Gurska DP. 2017. Peering Down the Bottomless Well: Myth in Thomas Mann’s Joseph Tetralogy [Doctoral dissertation]. Carpinteria, CA: Pacifica Graduate Institute.

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
Hodgman J. 2017. Bonus Advice From Judge John Hodgman. New York Times.:MM24.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Hansen 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Hansen 2000; Begbie & Graham 2001).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Begbie & Graham 2001)
  • Three or more authors: (King et al. 2006)

About the journal

Full journal titleFrontiers in Life Science
AbbreviationFront. Life Sci.
ISSN (print)2155-3769
ISSN (online)2155-3777
ScopeGeneral Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
General Neuroscience

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