How to format your references using the Mechanisms of Development citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Mechanisms of Development. 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
Kiessling, A.A., 2005. Eggs alone. Nature 434, 145.
A journal article with 2 authors
Michael, P.J., Cheadle, M.J., 2009. Geochemistry. Making a crust. Science 323, 1017–1018.
A journal article with 3 authors
Lutz, W., Muttarak, R., Striessnig, E., 2014. Environment and development. Universal education is key to enhanced climate adaptation. Science 346, 1061–1062.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Hulme, M., Mahony, M., Beck, S., Görg, C., Hansjürgens, B., Hauck, J., Nesshöver, C., Paulsch, A., Vandewalle, M., Wittmer, H., Böschen, S., Bridgewater, P., Diaw, M.C., Fabre, P., Figueroa, A., Heong, K.L., Korn, H., Leemans, R., Lövbrand, E., Hamid, M.N., Monfreda, C., Pielke, R., Jr, Settele, J., Winter, M., Vadrot, A.B.M., van den Hove, S., van der Sluijs, J.P., 2011. Science-policy interface: beyond assessments. Science 333, 697–698.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Nordenström, J., 2012. The Hunt for the Parathyroids. John Wiley & Sons, Oxford.
An edited book
Dzemyda, G., 2013. Multidimensional Data Visualization: Methods and Applications, Springer Optimization and Its Applications. Springer, New York, NY.
A chapter in an edited book
Gerrath, J., Posluszny, U., Melville, L., 2015. Humans and Grapes, in: Posluszny, U., Melville, L. (Eds.), Taming the Wild Grape: Botany and Horticulture in the Vitaceae. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 103–114.

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 Mechanisms of Development.

Blog post
Andrews, R., 2016. Dinosaurs Saw The World In Shades Of Red [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, 1992. Aviation Safety: Better Oversight Would Reduce the Risk of Air Taxi Accidents (No. T-RCED-92-27). 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
Tseng, Y.H.-H., 2008. Motivation of participation in inservice training based on problem solving: A modified Delphi study (Doctoral dissertation). University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ.

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
Williams, J., 2016. This is Glam Rock. New York Times BR48.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Kiessling, 2005).
This sentence cites two references (Kiessling, 2005; Michael and Cheadle, 2009).

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

  • Two authors: (Michael and Cheadle, 2009)
  • Three or more authors: (Hulme et al., 2011)

About the journal

Full journal titleMechanisms of Development
AbbreviationMech. Dev.
ISSN (print)0925-4773
ScopeDevelopmental Biology

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