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
Ahlberg, P.E., 2004. Comment on “The early evolution of the tetrapod humerus.” Science 305, 1715; author reply 1715.
A journal article with 2 authors
Ozanne, S.E., Hales, C.N., 2004. Lifespan: catch-up growth and obesity in male mice. Nature 427, 411–412.
A journal article with 3 authors
Wisse, B.E., Kim, F., Schwartz, M.W., 2007. Physiology. An integrative view of obesity. Science 318, 928–929.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Liu, X., Yue, Y., Li, B., Nie, Y., Li, W., Wu, W.-H., Ma, L., 2007. A G protein-coupled receptor is a plasma membrane receptor for the plant hormone abscisic acid. Science 315, 1712–1716.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
McPhee, P., 2012. A Companion to the French Revolution. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford.
An edited book
Carrillo, D., de Moraes, G.J., Peña, J.E. (Eds.), 2015. Prospects for Biological Control of Plant Feeding Mites and Other Harmful Organisms, Progress in Biological Control. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Karp, B., Durban, D., 2013. Elastodynamic End Effects in Structural Mechanics, in: Craster, R.V., Kaplunov, J. (Eds.), Dynamic Localization Phenomena in Elasticity, Acoustics and Electromagnetism, CISM International Centre for Mechanical Sciences. Springer, Vienna, pp. 115–179.

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
Carpineti, A., 2017. Ceres’ Ice Volcanoes Might Disappear Over Time [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. Airline Scheduling: Airline Practices in Establishing and Maintaining Connecting Times (No. RCED-88-207). 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
Larson, S.E., 2014. A case of rational irrationality: Evidence of expressive interest bias in state e-commerce sales and use tax legislation (Doctoral dissertation). Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

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
Hodara, S., 2015. Art Rooted in Matters of the Heart and the Mind. New York Times CT8.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Ahlberg, 2004).
This sentence cites two references (Ahlberg, 2004; Ozanne and Hales, 2004).

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

  • Two authors: (Ozanne and Hales, 2004)
  • Three or more authors: (Liu et al., 2007)

About the journal

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

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