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
Garwin R. 2007. How the mighty have fallen. Nature. 449:543.
A journal article with 2 authors
Gargiulo F, Carletti T. 2014. Driving forces of researchers mobility. Sci Rep. 4:4860.
A journal article with 3 authors
Cai W, Vasudev AP, Brongersma ML. 2011. Electrically controlled nonlinear generation of light with plasmonics. Science. 333:1720–1723.
A journal article with 12 or more authors
Oe Y, Tominaga-Yoshino K, Hasegawa S, Ogura A. 2013. Dendritic spine dynamics in synaptogenesis after repeated LTP inductions: dependence on pre-existing spine density. Sci Rep. 3:1957.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bisswanger H. 2005. Enzymkinetik. Weinheim, FRG: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
An edited book
Taha S. 2013. Secure IP Mobility Management for VANET. Shen X, editor. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Marinca V, Herisanu N. 2011. The Method of Multiple Scales. In: Herisanu N, editor. Nonlinear Dynamical Systems in Engineering: Some Approximate Approaches. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; p. 83–102.

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
Carpineti A. 2016. Electrons Are Mysteriously Accelerated At The Edge Our Planet’s Magnetosphere. 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. More Can Be Done To Improve the Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Donation Program. 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
Hernandez K. 2015. Life skills education for at-risk youth at Soledad Enrichment Action Charter High School: A grant proposal [Doctoral dissertation]. Long Beach, CA: California State University, Long Beach.

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
MacFARQUHAR N. 2017. Thousands of Russians Present Letters of Protest in Demonstrations. New York Times.:A9.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Garwin 2007).
This sentence cites two references (Garwin 2007; Gargiulo and Carletti 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Gargiulo and Carletti 2014)
  • Three or more authors: (Oe 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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