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
Müller, A. (2003). Chemistry. The beauty of symmetry. Science 300, 749–750.
A journal article with 2 authors
Cao, W., and De La Cruz, E. M. (2013). Quantitative full time course analysis of nonlinear enzyme cycling kinetics. Sci. Rep. 3, 2658.
A journal article with 3 authors
Sahu, G., Sukumaran, S., and Bera, A. K. (2014). Pannexins form gap junctions with electrophysiological and pharmacological properties distinct from connexins. Sci. Rep. 4, 4955.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Chugunov, A., Pyrkova, D., Nolde, D., Polyansky, A., Pentkovsky, V., and Efremov, R. (2013). Lipid-II forms potential “landing terrain” for lantibiotics in simulated bacterial membrane. Sci. Rep. 3, 1678.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Van Der Pijl, P., Solomon, L. K., and Lokitz, J. (2016). How To Design a Better Business. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Joyner, D. (2011). Selected Unsolved Problems in Coding Theory. 1st ed. , ed. J.-L. Kim Boston, MA: Birkhäuser.
A chapter in an edited book
Musiani, F., and Löblich, M. (2016). “Net Neutrality from a Public Sphere Perspective,” in Net Neutrality Compendium: Human Rights, Free Competition and the Future of the Internet, eds. L. Belli and P. De Filippi (Cham: Springer International Publishing), 43–52.

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
O`Callaghan, J. (2015). How The Universe’s Brightest Galaxies Became So Bright. 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 (2002). Information Concerning the Arming of Commercial Pilots. 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
Escamilla, D. (2012). How performance following the implementation of a new structure affects employee engagement.

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
Hodara, S. (2015). Art Appreciation 101: Take a Nap. New York Times, CT9.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Müller, 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Müller, 2003; Cao and De La Cruz, 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Cao and De La Cruz, 2013)
  • Three or more authors: (Chugunov et al., 2013)

About the journal

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

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