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
Rastan, S., 2015. Mary F. Lyon (1925-2014). Nature 518, 36.
A journal article with 2 authors
Oka, T., McCall, B.J., 2011. Astronomy. Disclosing identities in diffuse interstellar bands. Science 331, 293–294.
A journal article with 3 authors
Srinivasan, V., Pierik, A.J., Lill, R., 2014. Crystal structures of nucleotide-free and glutathione-bound mitochondrial ABC transporter Atm1. Science 343, 1137–1140.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Bayne, E.H., Portoso, M., Kagansky, A., Kos-Braun, I.C., Urano, T., Ekwall, K., Alves, F., Rappsilber, J., Allshire, R.C., 2008. Splicing factors facilitate RNAi-directed silencing in fission yeast. Science 322, 602–606.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Zlokarnik, M., 2005. Scale-up. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, FRG.
An edited book
Bestak, R., Kencl, L., Li, L.E., Widmer, J., Yin, H. (Eds.), 2012. NETWORKING 2012: 11th International IFIP TC 6 Networking Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, May 21-25, 2012, Proceedings, Part II, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Ferrari, S., Zanotto, V., 2016. Thermal Comfort Approaches and Building Performance, in: Zanotto, V. (Ed.), Building Energy Performance Assessment in Southern Europe, SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 47–60.

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
Andrew, E., 2014. See Inside A Tiger Shark’s Mouth As It Gobbles A GoPro [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, 1988. DOD’s Risk Assessment and Safeguards Management of Chemical and Biological Warfare Research and Development Facilities (No. T-PEMD-88-10). 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
Puebla, R.A., 2014. The avant-garde tuba: Analysis and comparisons of interpretations of William Kraft’s Encounters II for unaccompanied tuba (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
Crow, K., 2003. Some Koreans Give Their Teachers the Whole Apple Tree .. New York Times 146.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Rastan, 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Oka and McCall, 2011; Rastan, 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Oka and McCall, 2011)
  • Three or more authors: (Bayne et al., 2008)

About the journal

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

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