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
Weinberger, S. (2009). Export-control laws worry academics. Nature 461, 156.
A journal article with 2 authors
Dixson, D. L., and Hay, M. E. (2012). Corals chemically cue mutualistic fishes to remove competing seaweeds. Science 338, 804–807.
A journal article with 3 authors
Hung, R.-J., Pak, C. W., and Terman, J. R. (2011). Direct redox regulation of F-actin assembly and disassembly by Mical. Science 334, 1710–1713.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Gutberlet, A., Schwaab, G., Birer, O., Masia, M., Kaczmarek, A., Forbert, H., et al. (2009). Aggregation-induced dissociation of HCl(H2O)4 below 1 K: the smallest droplet of acid. Science 324, 1545–1548.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Khan, M. M., and Islam, M. R. (2016). Zero Waste Engineering. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Ford, J. D., and Berrang-Ford, L. eds. (2011). Climate Change Adaptation in Developed Nations: From Theory to Practice. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
A chapter in an edited book
Almeida, A. M. O. de (2009). “Entanglement in Phase Space,” in Entanglement and Decoherence: Foundations and Modern Trends Lecture Notes in Physics., eds. A. Buchleitner, C. Viviescas, and M. Tiersch (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer), 157–219.

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). Despite Decades Of Deforestation, The Earth Is Getting Greener. 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 (1991). Earth Observing System: Information on NASA’s Selection of Data Centers. 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
Sammons, J. L. (2012). Perceived benefits of and barriers to physical exercise in people with severe mental illness.

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
Rothenberg, B. (2017). Returning to Form, Nadal and Dimitrov End Grand Slam Droughts. New York Times, B8.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Weinberger, 2009).
This sentence cites two references (Dixson and Hay, 2012; Weinberger, 2009).

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

  • Two authors: (Dixson and Hay, 2012)
  • Three or more authors: (Gutberlet 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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