How to format your references using the Journal of Theoretical Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Journal of Theoretical 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
Gomez, N., 2015. Climate science: Small glacier has big effect on sea-level rise. Nature 526, 510–512.
A journal article with 2 authors
Aldecoa, R., Marín, I., 2013. Exploring the limits of community detection strategies in complex networks. Sci. Rep. 3, 2216.
A journal article with 3 authors
Petta, J.R., Lu, H., Gossard, A.C., 2010. A coherent beam splitter for electronic spin states. Science 327, 669–672.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Ziegenfuss, J.S., Biswas, R., Avery, M.A., Hong, K., Sheehan, A.E., Yeung, Y.-G., Stanley, E.R., Freeman, M.R., 2008. Draper-dependent glial phagocytic activity is mediated by Src and Syk family kinase signalling. Nature 453, 935–939.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Spatschek, K.-H., 2011. High Temperature Plasmas. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany.
An edited book
Pereira, A.W., Mattei, L. (Eds.), 2016. The Brazilian Economy Today: Towards a New Socio-Economic Model? Palgrave Macmillan UK, London.
A chapter in an edited book
Ornella, L., Cervigni, G., Tapia, E., 2012. Applications of Machine Learning in Breeding for Stress Tolerance in Maize, in: Venkateswarlu, B., Shanker, A.K., Shanker, C., Maheswari, M. (Eds.), Crop Stress and Its Management: Perspectives and Strategies. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp. 163–192.

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 Theoretical Biology.

Blog post
Davis, J., 2016. Trees “Sleep” At Night Too [WWW Document]. IFLScience. URL (accessed 10.30.18).


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, 1995. Interstate Commerce Commission: Budget and Other Impacts of Eliminating or Transferring Functions (No. T-RCED-95-111). U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Zavarella, C.A., 2008. Computer -based instruction and remedial mathematics: A study of student retention at a Florida community college (Doctoral dissertation). University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

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
Widdicombe, B., 2017. Charming for a Cause. New York Times D1.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Gomez, 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Aldecoa and Marín, 2013; Gomez, 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Aldecoa and Marín, 2013)
  • Three or more authors: (Ziegenfuss et al., 2008)

About the journal

Full journal titleJournal of Theoretical Biology
AbbreviationJ. Theor. Biol.
ISSN (print)0022-5193
ScopeGeneral Agricultural and Biological Sciences
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
General Immunology and Microbiology
Applied Mathematics
Modelling and Simulation
Statistics and Probability
General Medicine

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