How to format your references using the Life citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Life. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
1.
Owens, B. Drug development: The treasure chest. Nature 2015, 525, S6-8.
A journal article with 2 authors
1.
Goette, L.; Meier, S. Economics. Can integration tame conflicts? Science 2011, 334, 1356–1357.
A journal article with 3 authors
1.
Hanotte, O.; Dessie, T.; Kemp, S. Ecology. Time to tap Africa’s livestock genomes. Science 2010, 328, 1640–1641.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
1.
Adachi, K.; Kajino, M.; Zaizen, Y.; Igarashi, Y. Emission of spherical cesium-bearing particles from an early stage of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Sci. Rep. 2013, 3, 2554.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1.
Chakrabarty, P. A Guide to Academia; Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford, UK, 2012; ISBN 9781118317211.
An edited book
1.
Genovese, A. Touchless Palmprint Recognition Systems; Piuri, V., Scotti, F., Eds.; Advances in Information Security; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2014; Vol. 60; ISBN 9783319103648.
A chapter in an edited book
1.
Seto, K.C. Regional Assessment of Asia. In Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities: A Global Assessment; Elmqvist, T., Fragkias, M., Goodness, J., Güneralp, B., Marcotullio, P.J., McDonald, R.I., Parnell, S., Schewenius, M., Sendstad, M., Seto, K.C., Wilkinson, C., Eds.; Springer Netherlands: Dordrecht, 2013; pp. 53–56 ISBN 9789400770874.

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 Life.

Blog post
1.
Hale, T. Students Launch Rocket With A 3D-Printed Engine (accessed on Oct 30, 2018).

Reports

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
1.
Government Accountability Office Aviation Security: FAA’s Actions to Study Responsibilities and Funding for Airport Security and to Certify Screening Companies; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1999;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1.
Harris, A.E. A quantitative study of the impact of CFO and auditor turnover on internal control weaknesses. Doctoral dissertation, Capella University: Minneapolis, MN, 2017.

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
1.
Williams, J. Long Live the Prince. New York Times 2017, BR9.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1,2].
This sentence cites four references [1–4].

About the journal

Full journal titleLife
AbbreviationLife (Basel)
ISSN (online)2075-1729
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Palaeontology
Space and Planetary Science

Other styles