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
Coyne JA. 2005. Evolution. Ernst Mayr (1904-2005). Science. 307:1212–1213.
A journal article with 2 authors
Masataka N, Perlovsky L. 2013. Cognitive interference can be mitigated by consonant music and facilitated by dissonant music. Sci Rep. 3:2028.
A journal article with 3 authors
Berkley KJ, Rapkin AJ, Papka RE. 2005. The pains of endometriosis. Science. 308:1587–1589.
A journal article with 12 or more authors
Sparrow C, Martín-López E, Maraviglia N, Neville A, Harrold C, Carolan J, Joglekar YN, Hashimoto T, Matsuda N, O’Brien JL, et al. 2018. Simulating the vibrational quantum dynamics of molecules using photonics. Nature. 557:660–667.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Passarelli D. 2012. Trading Options Greeks. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Gorban AN, Kevrekidis IG, Theodoropoulos C, Kazantzis NK, Öttinger HC, editors. 2006. Model Reduction and Coarse-Graining Approaches for Multiscale Phenomena. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Sebag J. 2014. Pathophysiology of the Aging Vitreous. In: Girach A, Smet MD de, editors. Diseases of the Vitreo-Macular Interface. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; p. 29–42.

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. There Was A Decline Of Male Diversity When Humans Took To Agriculture. 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. 2002. Social Security Administration: Fugitive Felon Program Could Benefit from Better Use of Technology. 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
Tzillah A. 2009. The emissions of selected air pollutants from biodiesel fuel usage [Doctoral dissertation]. Cincinnati, OH: University of Cincinnati.

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
Kenigsberg B. 2017. Paradise. New York Times.:C7.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Schnittman 2013).
This sentence cites two references (Pachauri 2009; Bignami 2009).

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

  • Two authors: (Masataka and Perlovsky 2013)
  • Three or more authors: (Realini et al. 2013)

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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