How to format your references using the Frontiers in Plant Systems Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Frontiers in Plant Systems Biology. 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
Olson, E. N. (2006). Gene regulatory networks in the evolution and development of the heart. Science 313, 1922–1927.
A journal article with 2 authors
Slee, E. A., and Lu, X. (2013). Requirement for phosphorylation of P53 at Ser312 in suppression of chemical carcinogenesis. Sci. Rep. 3, 3105.
A journal article with 3 authors
Simmons, S. L., Bazylinski, D. A., and Edwards, K. J. (2006). South-seeking magnetotactic bacteria in the Northern Hemisphere. Science 311, 371–374.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Chierico, L., Joseph, A. S., Lewis, A. L., and Battaglia, G. (2014). Live cell imaging of membrane/cytoskeleton interactions and membrane topology. Sci. Rep. 4, 6056.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bertolo, D. (2016). Interactions on Digital Tablets in the Context of 3D Geometry Learning. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Damiani, E., Fitzgerald, B., Scacchi, W., Scotto, M., and Succi, G. eds. (2006). Open Source Systems: IFIP Working Group 2.13 Foundation on Open Source Software, June 8–10, 2006, Como, Italy. Boston, MA: Springer US.
A chapter in an edited book
Murad, A. (2007). “A GIS Application for Modeling Accessibility to Health Care Centers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,” in GIS for Health and the Environment: Development in the Asia-Pacific Region With 110 Figures Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography., eds. P. C. Lai and A. S. H. Mak (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer), 57–70.

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 Plant Systems Biology.

Blog post
Taub, B. (2016). Shark Dies After Idiots Drag It From The Sea To Take Selfies. 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 (1977). Proposed Amendments to the 1978 Labor, Health, Education, and Welfare Appropriations Bill. 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
Hsueh, T. (2012). ENV9, a novel gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is responsible for the pleiotropic phenotype of env9Δ and encodes a membrane protein that is localized to lipid droplets.

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
Kelly, C. (2009). Physical Therapy and the Camaraderie of Healing. New York Times, D5.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Olson, 2006).
This sentence cites two references (Olson, 2006; Slee and Lu, 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Slee and Lu, 2013)
  • Three or more authors: (Chierico et al., 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titleFrontiers in Plant Systems Biology
AbbreviationFront. Plant Sci.
ISSN (online)1664-462X
ScopePlant Science

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