How to format your references using the IET Synthetic Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for IET Synthetic 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
Butler, D.: ‘Spiralling costs dog comet mission’Nature, 2003, 423, (6938), p. 372.
A journal article with 2 authors
Vukusic, P., Sambles, J.R.: ‘Photonic structures in biology’Nature, 2003, 424, (6950), pp. 852–855.
A journal article with 3 authors
Riolo, R.L., Cohen, M.D., Axelrod, R.: ‘Evolution of cooperation without reciprocity’Nature, 2001, 414, (6862), pp. 441–443.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Guo, H., Mockler, T., Duong, H., Lin, C.: ‘SUB1, an Arabidopsis Ca2+-binding protein involved in cryptochrome and phytochrome coaction’Science, 2001, 291, (5503), pp. 487–490.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Butler, K.C.: ‘Multinational Finance’ (John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2016)
An edited book
Singh, A.K., Agarwal, R. (Eds.): ‘Core Concepts in Hypertension in Kidney Disease’ (Springer, 2016)
A chapter in an edited book
Maricau, E., Gielen, G.: ‘Analog IC Reliability Simulation’, in Gielen, G. (Ed.): ‘Analog IC Reliability in Nanometer CMOS’ (Springer, 2013), pp. 93–149

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 IET Synthetic Biology.

Blog post
Andrew, E.: ‘Scared Out Of Your Mind: Halloween, Fear And The Brain’,, accessed October 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: ‘DOD Computer Contracting: Inadequate Management Wasted Millions of Dollars’ (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993)

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Mohajer, R.: ‘A transcendental approach to John Coltrane: applying concepts of spirituality to Giant Steps into the Cosmos’. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, 2012

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
Pilon, M., Bernstein, V.: ‘Danger Lurks in Dirt Track Racing’New York Times, 2013, p. B17.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [2].
This sentence cites two references [2, 4].
This sentence cites four references [2, 4, 6, 8].

About the journal

Full journal titleIET Synthetic Biology
ISSN (print)1752-1394
Cell Biology
Molecular Biology

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