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
Thorp, H.H., 2000. CHEMISTRY: Harnessing the Power of Diatomics. Science 289, 882–883.
A journal article with 2 authors
Khosla, C., Harbury, P.B., 2001. Modular enzymes. Nature 409, 247–252.
A journal article with 3 authors
Park, S.-J., Taton, T.A., Mirkin, C.A., 2002. Array-based electrical detection of DNA with nanoparticle probes. Science 295, 1503–1506.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Leutgeb, S., Leutgeb, J.K., Barnes, C.A., Moser, E.I., McNaughton, B.L., Moser, M.-B., 2005. Independent codes for spatial and episodic memory in hippocampal neuronal ensembles. Science 309, 619–623.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lalena, J.N., Cleary, D.A., 2005. Principles of Inorganic Materials Design. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Mahrwald, R. (Ed.), 2011. Enantioselective Organocatalyzed Reactions II: Asymmetric C-C Bond Formation Processes. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.
A chapter in an edited book
Sun, J., Ji, Y., Cai, F., Li, J., 2012. Heavy Metal Removal Through Biosorptive Pathways, in: Sharma, S.K., Sanghi, R. (Eds.), Advances in Water Treatment and Pollution Prevention. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp. 95–145.

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
Andrew, E., 2015. Frances Kelsey, Doctor Who Saved The U.S. From Thalidomide, Dies At 101 [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, 2009. High Speed Passenger Rail: Future Development Will Depend on Addressing Financial and Other Challenges and Establishing a Clear Federal Role (No. GAO-09-560T). 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
Layer, B.D., 2012. Structured plasma waveguides and deep EUV generation enabled by intense laser-cluster interactions (Doctoral dissertation). University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD.

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
Alvarez, L., 2017. Pandemonium Followed Rumor of Second Airport Attacker. 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 (Thorp, 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Khosla and Harbury, 2001; Thorp, 2000).

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

  • Two authors: (Khosla and Harbury, 2001)
  • Three or more authors: (Leutgeb et al., 2005)

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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