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
Burns CJ. 2005. Chemistry. Bridging a gap in actinide chemistry. Science. 309:1823–1824.
A journal article with 2 authors
Tao YJ, Zheng W. 2012. Biochemistry. Visualizing the influenza genome. Science. 338:1545–1546.
A journal article with 3 authors
Dorman SN, Viner C, Rogan PK. 2014. Splicing mutation analysis reveals previously unrecognized pathways in lymph node-invasive breast cancer. Sci Rep. 4:7063.
A journal article with 12 or more authors
Spengler D, van Roermund HLM, Drury MR, Ottolini L, Mason PRD, Davies GR. 2006. Deep origin and hot melting of an Archaean orogenic peridotite massif in Norway. Nature. 440:913–917.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Davies D. 2011. Philosophy of the Performing Arts. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
An edited book
Korobov V. 2011. Chemical Kinetics with Mathcad and Maple. Ochkov V, editor. Vienna: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Ruggeri T, Sugiyama M. 2015. RET 14-Field Theory of Polyatomic Gas and Dense Gas. In: Sugiyama M, editor. Rational Extended Thermodynamics beyond the Monatomic Gas. Cham: Springer International Publishing; p. 109–137.

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. 2014. Giant Extinct Volcano Discovered In Pacific Ocean. 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. 2010. Propane and Heating Oil: Federal Oversight of the Propane Education and Research Council and National Oilheat Research Alliance Should Be Strengthened. 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
Gossett JM. 2009. Autobiographical insights into the spiritual psychologies of Jung and Bion [Doctoral dissertation]. Carpinteria, CA: Pacifica Graduate Institute.

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
Kishkovsky S. 2009. Modern Dance and Art Bring a Burst of Color to a Gray City. New York Times.:A8.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Burns 2005).
This sentence cites two references (Burns 2005; Tao and Zheng 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Tao and Zheng 2012)
  • Three or more authors: (Spengler et al. 2006)

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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