How to format your references using the Journal of Natural History citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Journal of Natural History. 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
Hauser MD. 2009. The possibility of impossible cultures. Nature. 460:190–196.
A journal article with 2 authors
Poulsen H, Nissen P. 2012. Structural biology. The inner workings of a dynamic duo. Science. 335:416–417.
A journal article with 3 authors
Zhu L, Ploessl K, Kung HF. 2013. Chemistry. Expanding the scope of fluorine tags for PET imaging. Science. 342:429–430.
A journal article with 12 or more authors
Chikkatur AP, Shin Y, Leanhardt AE, Kielpinski D, Tsikata E, Gustavson TL, Pritchard DE, Ketterle W. 2002. A continuous source of Bose-Einstein condensed atoms. Science. 296:2193–2195.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Murdoch I, Turpin S, Johnston B, MacLullich A, Losman E. 2014. Geriatric Emergencies. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Mellodge P. 2008. Model Abstraction in Dynamical Systems: Application to Mobile Robot Control. Kachroo P, editor. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Pirkelbauer P, Milewicz R, Gonzalez JF. 2016. A Portable Lock-Free Bounded Queue. In: Carretero J, Garcia-Blas J, Ko RKL, Mueller P, Nakano K, editors. Algorithms and Architectures for Parallel Processing: 16th International Conference, ICA3PP 2016, Granada, Spain, December 14-16, 2016, Proceedings. Cham: Springer International Publishing; p. 55–73.

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 Journal of Natural History.

Blog post
Andrew E. 2015. Boa Constrictors Don’t Actually Suffocate Their Prey To Death After All. IFLScience [Internet]. [cited 2018 Oct 30]. Available from:


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. 1981. Local Coordination Prevents Duplication of Services at Federally Sponsored Indian Education Projects. 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
Estep KL. 2010. Outreach Communication by Grassroots Environmental Organizations: A Case Study [Doctoral dissertation]. Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlantic University.

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
Murphy MJO. 2015. Theodore Roosevelt on How You Kill a Lion. New York Times.:C25.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Hauser 2009).
This sentence cites two references (Hauser 2009; Poulsen and Nissen 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Poulsen and Nissen 2012)
  • Three or more authors: (Chikkatur et al. 2002)

About the journal

Full journal titleJournal of Natural History
AbbreviationJ. Nat. Hist.
ISSN (print)0022-2933
ISSN (online)1464-5262
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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