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
DeWeerdt, S., 2013. Mood disorders: the dark night. Nature 497, S14-5.
A journal article with 2 authors
Contreras, J.L., Reichman, J.H., 2015. DATA ACCESS. Sharing by design: Data and decentralized commons. Science 350, 1312–1314.
A journal article with 3 authors
Regan, C.K., Craig, S.L., Brauman, J.I., 2002. Steric effects and solvent effects in ionic reactions. Science 295, 2245–2247.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Yang, J., Smith, M.R., Lan, T., Hou, J.-B., Zhang, X.-G., 2014. Articulated Wiwaxia from the Cambrian Stage 3 Xiaoshiba lagerstätte. Sci. Rep. 4, 4643.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Coussy, O., 2005. Poromechanics. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Agha, K.A., Guérin Lassous, I., Pujolle, G. (Eds.), 2006. Challenges in Ad Hoc Networking: Fourth Annual Mediterranean Ad Hoc Networking Workshop, June 21–24, 2005, Île de Porquerolles, France, IFIP International Federation for Information Processing. Springer US, Boston, MA.
A chapter in an edited book
Galison, P., 2015. The Journalist, the Scientist, and Objectivity, in: Padovani, F., Richardson, A., Tsou, J.Y. (Eds.), Objectivity in Science: New Perspectives from Science and Technology Studies, Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 57–75.

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
Hale, T., 2017. You Really Can Read People’s Emotions Through Their Eyes [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, 2010. Helium Program: Key Developments Since the Early 1990s and Future Considerations (No. GAO-10-700T). 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
Dorsey, V., 2015. Impact of a family council intervention on owner knowledge and stewardship within a family business (Doctoral dissertation). Pepperdine University, Malibu, 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
Ruiz, R.R., Rothenberg, B., 2016. Exceptions for Drugs Fall Under Scrutiny. New York Times B11.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (DeWeerdt, 2013).
This sentence cites two references (Contreras and Reichman, 2015; DeWeerdt, 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Contreras and Reichman, 2015)
  • Three or more authors: (Yang et al., 2014)

About the journal

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

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