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
Balter, M. (2001). Cancer research. Transatlantic war over BRCA1 patent. Science 292, 1818.
A journal article with 2 authors
Mossel, E., and Vigoda, E. (2005). Phylogenetic MCMC algorithms are misleading on mixtures of trees. Science 309, 2207–2209.
A journal article with 3 authors
Rolland-Lagan, A.-G., Bangham, J. A., and Coen, E. (2003). Growth dynamics underlying petal shape and asymmetry. Nature 422, 161–163.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Wilman, R. J., Gerssen, J., Bower, R. G., Morris, S. L., Bacon, R., de Zeeuw, P. T., et al. (2005). The discovery of a galaxy-wide superwind from a young massive galaxy at redshift z approximately 3. Nature 436, 227–229.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Rao, C. L., Narayanamurthy, V., and Simha, K. R. Y. (2016). Applied Impact Mechanics. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Lagorio, S. L. (2016). Early Cretaceous Volcanism in Central and Eastern Argentina During Gondwana Break-Up. , eds. H. Vizán and S. E. Geuna Cham: Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Dobosz, P., and Cierniak, R. (2014). “Using of EM Algorithm to Image Reconstruction Problem with Tomography Noises,” in Image Processing and Communications Challenges 5 Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing., ed. R. S. Choras (Heidelberg: Springer International Publishing), 37–43.

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
Evans, K. (2017). We’re In Danger Of Losing Emperor Penguins As They Can’t Adapt To Climate Change. 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 (1972). Follow-up Review on Assistance to War Victims in Vietnam. 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
Escalante-Guerra, M. (2009). Policy analysis proposal regarding the Adoptions and Safe Family Act of 1997.

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
Brantley, B. (2017). Theater; Three Sisters, Lots of Kvetching. New York Times, AR3.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Balter, 2001).
This sentence cites two references (Balter, 2001; Mossel and Vigoda, 2005).

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

  • Two authors: (Mossel and Vigoda, 2005)
  • Three or more authors: (Wilman et al., 2005)

About the journal

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

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