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

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Frontiers in 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
Kuratani, S. (2013). Evolution. A muscular perspective on vertebrate evolution. Science 341, 139–140.
A journal article with 2 authors
Subang, M. C., and Richardson, P. M. (2009). Neuroscience. Nuclear power for axonal growth. Science 326, 238–239.
A journal article with 3 authors
Park, G. D., Ko, Y. N., and Kang, Y. C. (2014). Electrochemical properties of cobalt hydroxychloride microspheres as a new anode material for Li-ion batteries. Sci. Rep. 4, 5785.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Miller, S., Pfund, C., Pribbenow, C. M., and Handelsman, J. (2008). The pipeline. Scientific teaching in practice. Science 322, 1329–1330.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lane, C. (2011). Magnolia. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
An edited book
Aldini, A. (2010). A Process Algebraic Approach to Software Architecture Design. , eds. M. Bernardo and F. Corradini London: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Pohjanen, J., Koskimäki, J. J., and Pirttilä, A. M. (2014). “Interactions of Meristem-Associated Endophytic Bacteria,” in Advances in Endophytic Research, eds. V. C. Verma and A. C. Gange (New Delhi: Springer India), 103–113.

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 Systems Biology.

Blog post
Davis, J. (2015). Air Pollutants Could Be Absorbed Directly Through The Skin. IFLScience.


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 (1997). Intercity Passenger Rail: The Financial Viability of Amtrak Continues to Be Threatened. 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
Ganatra, V. A. (2012). Impact of the media on body image and eating disorders.

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, M. (1992). The Surrounding Scene; It Seemed Like Donahue. But With Bush, Clinton and Perot, It Sure Wasn’t. New York Times, A9.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Kuratani, 2013).
This sentence cites two references (Subang and Richardson, 2009; Kuratani, 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Subang and Richardson, 2009)
  • Three or more authors: (Miller et al., 2008)

About the journal

Full journal titleFrontiers in Systems Biology
AbbreviationFront. Psychiatry
ISSN (online)1664-0640
ScopePsychiatry and Mental health

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