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
Shimada, T. (2014). A universal transition in the robustness of evolving open systems. Sci. Rep. 4, 4082.
A journal article with 2 authors
Rothman, D. H., and Forney, D. C. (2007). Physical model for the decay and preservation of marine organic carbon. Science 316, 1325–1328.
A journal article with 3 authors
Senn, M. S., Wright, J. P., and Attfield, J. P. (2011). Charge order and three-site distortions in the Verwey structure of magnetite. Nature 481, 173–176.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Fronzes, R., Schäfer, E., Wang, L., Saibil, H. R., Orlova, E. V., and Waksman, G. (2009). Structure of a type IV secretion system core complex. Science 323, 266–268.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Adhikari, S. (2013). Structural Dynamic Analysis with Generalized Damping Models. Hoboken, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Paul, G., and Vaudenay, S. eds. (2013). Progress in Cryptology – INDOCRYPT 2013: 14th International Conference on Cryptology in India, Mumbai, India, December 7-10, 2013. Proceedings. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Humby, T., and Wilkinson, L. (2006). “If Only They Could Talk,” in Transgenic and Knockout Models of Neuropsychiatric Disorders Contemporary Clinical Neuroscience., eds. G. S. Fisch and J. Flint (Totowa, NJ: Humana Press), 69–83.

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
Andrew, E. (2015). Eye Tracking Is The Next Frontier Of Human-Computer Interaction. 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). Tax Systems Modernization: Automated Underreporter Project Shows Need for Human Resource Planning. 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
Ramos, J. (2017). Surviving Childhood Bullying: Impact on Psychosocial Well-Being in Adulthood.

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
Hollander, S. (2001). The “Roswell” Army Fights for Its Show on the Web. New York Times, 232.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Shimada, 2014).
This sentence cites two references (Rothman and Forney, 2007; Shimada, 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Rothman and Forney, 2007)
  • Three or more authors: (Fronzes et al., 2009)

About the journal

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

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