How to format your references using the mBio citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for mBio. 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
Myers EG. 2014. Fundamental constants: The teamwork of precision. Nature 506:440–441.
A journal article with 2 authors
Byrne S, Ingersoll AP. 2003. A sublimation model for martian south polar ice features. Science 299:1051–1053.
A journal article with 3 authors
Rich PD, Liaw H-P, Lee AK. 2014. Place cells. Large environments reveal the statistical structure governing hippocampal representations. Science 345:814–817.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
De Smedt P, Van Meirvenne M, Herremans D, De Reu J, Saey T, Meerschman E, Crombé P, De Clercq W. 2013. The 3-D reconstruction of medieval wetland reclamation through electromagnetic induction survey. Sci Rep 3:1517.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Gable J, Herrmann T. 2016. Counselling Skills for Dietitians. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Dong L. 2012. Cryptographic Protocol: Security Analysis Based on Trusted Freshness. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Sudarsan SD, Jetley RP, Ramaswamy S. 2015. Security and Privacy of Big Data, p. 121–136. In Mohanty, H, Bhuyan, P, Chenthati, D (eds.), Big Data: A Primer. Springer India, New Delhi.

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 mBio.

Blog post
Carpineti A. 2015. Illegal Marijuana Farms In California Are Killing Rare Forest Mammals. IFLScience. IFLScience.


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. 1997. Federal Communications Commission: International Settlement Rates. OGC-97-63. 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
Sampson R. 2010. The effects of foster care on children: A comparison of 18th century through modern day foster care practices. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, 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
Gustines GG. 2017. A Super Mission: Crashing the Closet. New York Times.

In-text citations

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

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 titlemBio
ISSN (online)2150-7511

Other styles