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
Jimenez-Sanchez, G., 2003. Developing a platform for genomic medicine in Mexico. Science 300, 295–296.
A journal article with 2 authors
Wang, G., Or, D., 2014. Trophic interactions induce spatial self-organization of microbial consortia on rough surfaces. Sci. Rep. 4, 6757.
A journal article with 3 authors
Spencer, T.J., Osborn, T., Kohl, P.A., 2008. Materials science. High-frequency chip connections. Science 320, 756–757.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Smith, G.P., Wiens, D.A., Fischer, K.M., Dorman, L.M., Webb, S.C., Hildebrand, J.A., 2001. A complex pattern of mantle flow in the Lau backarc. Science 292, 713–716.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Studer, Q., 2007. Results that Last. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Bao, F., Weng, J. (Eds.), 2011. Information Security Practice and Experience: 7th International Conference, ISPEC 2011, Guangzhou, China, May 30 – June 1, 2011. Proceedings, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Xu, X.M., Jackson, D., 2012. Cell-to-Cell Movement of Homeodomain Transcription Factors: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, in: Kragler, F., Hülskamp, M. (Eds.), Short and Long Distance Signaling. Springer, New York, NY, pp. 87–98.

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. MIT’s New Robo-Cheetah Bounds Across Terrain Untethered [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, 2014. Space Acquisitions: Assessment of Overhead Persistent Infrared Technology Report (No. GAO-14-287R). 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
Enriquez, M., 2010. Music therapy to hospice patients of Visiting Nurse Association of Inland Counties: A grant proposal (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
Vecsey, G., 2012. It Was a Magical Night, With a Cherry on Top. New York Times SP2.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Jimenez-Sanchez, 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Jimenez-Sanchez, 2003; Wang and Or, 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Wang and Or, 2014)
  • Three or more authors: (Smith et al., 2001)

About the journal

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

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