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
Fray, D. (2013). Metallurgy: iron production electrified. Nature 497, 324–325.
A journal article with 2 authors
Kahane, G., and Shackel, N. (2008). Do abnormal responses show utilitarian bias? Nature 452, E5; author reply E5-6.
A journal article with 3 authors
Dong, J., Yang, G., and McHaourab, H. S. (2005). Structural basis of energy transduction in the transport cycle of MsbA. Science 308, 1023–1028.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Palmer, T. M., Stanton, M. L., Young, T. P., Goheen, J. R., Pringle, R. M., and Karban, R. (2008). Breakdown of an ant-plant mutualism follows the loss of large herbivores from an African savanna. Science 319, 192–195.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Scheringer, M. (2002). Persistence and Spatial Range of Environmental Chemicals. Weinheim, FRG: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
An edited book
Mannion, A. M. ed. (2006). Carbon and its domestication. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
A chapter in an edited book
Minguet, E. G., Alabadí, D., and Blázquez, M. A. (2014). “Gibberellin Implication in Plant Growth and Stress Responses,” in Phytohormones: A Window to Metabolism, Signaling and Biotechnological Applications, eds. L.-S. P. Tran and S. Pal (New York, NY: Springer), 119–161.

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
Hamilton, K. (2017). “Seeing’ Music Or “Tasting’ Numbers? Here’s What We Can Learn From People With Synaesthesia. 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 (2016). Revolving Funds: Additional Pricing and Performance Information for FAA and Treasury Funds Could Enhance Agency Decisions on Shared Services. 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
Karch, K. (2014). An investigation of perceptions about smart mobile phone usage as an instructional tool in a high school classroom.

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
Paulson, M. (2017). Aiming at Trump, Onstage. New York Times, C4.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Fray, 2013).
This sentence cites two references (Kahane and Shackel, 2008; Fray, 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Kahane and Shackel, 2008)
  • Three or more authors: (Palmer 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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