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
Stocker, T.F., 2015. The silent services of the world ocean. Science 350, 764–765.
A journal article with 2 authors
Battisti, D.S., Naylor, R.L., 2009. Historical warnings of future food insecurity with unprecedented seasonal heat. Science 323, 240–244.
A journal article with 3 authors
Qi, Y., Dolgushev, M., Zhang, Z., 2014. Dynamics of semiflexible recursive small-world polymer networks. Sci. Rep. 4, 7576.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Seelert, H., Poetsch, A., Dencher, N.A., Engel, A., Stahlberg, H., Müller, D.J., 2000. Structural biology. Proton-powered turbine of a plant motor. Nature 405, 418–419.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Delgrossi, L., Zhang, T., 2012. Vehicle Safety Communications. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Stanko, E.A., 2016. Police Use of Research Evidence: Recommendations for Improvement, SpringerBriefs in Criminology. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Jiang, X., Sun, T., Li, J., Yun, Y., 2009. A Novel Real-Time MPEG-2 Video Watermarking Scheme in Copyright Protection, in: Kim, H.-J., Katzenbeisser, S., Ho, A.T.S. (Eds.), Digital Watermarking: 7th International Workshop, IWDW 2008, Busan, Korea, November 10-12, 2008. Selected Papers, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 45–51.

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., 2015. Researchers find Physical Differences in Empathetic Peoples’ Brains [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, 1998. Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Progress Made in Compliance of VA Systems, But Concerns Remain (No. AIMD-98-237). 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
Steinberg, J., 2015. The Social Construction of Beauty: Body Modification Examined Through the Lens of Social Learning Theory (Doctoral dissertation). Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA.

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
Hodara, S., 2014. Personal Ways of Untangling the Political. New York Times WE10.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Stocker, 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Battisti and Naylor, 2009; Stocker, 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Battisti and Naylor, 2009)
  • Three or more authors: (Seelert et al., 2000)

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

Other styles