How to format your references using the Light: Science & Applications citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Light: Science & Applications. 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
Boetius A. Ocean science. Lost City life. Science 2005; 307: 1420–1422.
A journal article with 2 authors
Doherty CJ, Kay SA. Circadian surprise--it’s not all about transcription. Science 2012; 338: 338–340.
A journal article with 3 authors
Hamilton MJ, Walker RS, Kesler DC. Crash and rebound of indigenous populations in lowland South America. Sci Rep 2014; 4: 4541.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Liu C-I, Liu GY, Song Y, Yin F, Hensler ME, Jeng W-Y et al. A cholesterol biosynthesis inhibitor blocks Staphylococcus aureus virulence. Science 2008; 319: 1391–1394.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Nasr VG, DiNardo JA. The Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia Handbook. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, UK, 2017.
An edited book
Ostafin BD, Robinson MD, Meier BP (eds.). Handbook of Mindfulness and Self-Regulation. 1st ed. 2015. Springer: New York, NY, 2015.
A chapter in an edited book
Kreuzer M, Robbiano L. Computing Primary and Maximal Components. In: Robbiano L (ed). Computational Linear and Commutative Algebra. Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2016, pp 185–242.

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 Light: Science & Applications.

Blog post
Davis J. Price Of Ivory In China Crashes As Demand Continues To Fall. IFLScience. 2017. (accessed 30 Oct2018).


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. Geographic Information Systems: Status at Selected Agencies. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1990.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Henry AG. Plant foods and the dietary ecology of Neandertals and modern humans. 2010.

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
Barron J. Flash Photography Allowed (When It’s Your Tour Guide). New York Times. 2017; : A16.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in superscript:

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 titleLight: Science & Applications
AbbreviationLight Sci. Appl.
ISSN (online)2047-7538

Other styles