How to format your references using the Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
McBain, C. J. (2012). Neuroscience. Decoding the neuronal Tower of Babel. Science 338, 482–483.
A journal article with 2 authors
Zhang, F., and Zhou, Z. (2004). Palaeontology: leg feathers in an Early Cretaceous bird. Nature 431, 925.
A journal article with 3 authors
Carlos, C., Torres, T. T., and Ottoboni, L. M. M. (2013). Bacterial communities and species-specific associations with the mucus of Brazilian coral species. Sci. Rep. 3, 1624.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Munschauer, M., Nguyen, C. T., Sirokman, K., Hartigan, C. R., Hogstrom, L., Engreitz, J. M., et al. (2018). The NORAD lncRNA assembles a topoisomerase complex critical for genome stability. Nature 561, 132–136.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
AIChE technical manual (1998). Dow’s Chemical Exposure Index Guide. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Spagnolie, S. E. ed. (2015). Complex Fluids in Biological Systems: Experiment, Theory, and Computation. New York, NY: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Zuckerman-Levin, N., Latzer, Y., Dunne, P. E., and Hochberg, Z. (2016). “Skeletal Involvement in Eating Disorders,” in Bio-Psycho-Social Contributions to Understanding Eating Disorders, eds. Y. Latzer and D. Stein (Cham: Springer International Publishing), 51–61.

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 Molecular Biosciences.

Blog post
Carpineti, A. (2017). First Successful Demonstration For Quantum Satellite Communication. IFLScience. Available at: [Accessed October 30, 2018].


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 (1994). Elementary School Children: Many Change Schools Frequently, Harming Their Education. 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
Johnson, K. C. (2013). Teacher and parent perceptions of classroom experiences of African American male students in a high school alternative program.

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
Rawlence, B. (2017). The First Rule of Book Club Is . . . New York Times, BR25.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (McBain, 2012).
This sentence cites two references (Zhang and Zhou, 2004; McBain, 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Zhang and Zhou, 2004)
  • Three or more authors: (Munschauer et al., 2018)

About the journal

Full journal titleFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences
AbbreviationFront. Mol. Biosci.
ISSN (online)2296-889X

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