How to format your references using the Metascience citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Metascience. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
Keenan, Trevor F. 2015. Phenology: Spring greening in a warming world. Nature 526: 48–49.
A journal article with 2 authors
Sussman, Michael R., and George N. Phillips Jr. 2009. Plant science. How plant cells go to sleep for a long, long time. Science (New York, N.Y.) 326: 1356–1357.
A journal article with 3 authors
Sousa-Nunes, Rita, Lih Ling Yee, and Alex P. Gould. 2011. Fat cells reactivate quiescent neuroblasts via TOR and glial insulin relays in Drosophila. Nature 471: 508–512.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Dinh, Cao-Thang, Thomas Burdyny, Md Golam Kibria, Ali Seifitokaldani, Christine M. Gabardo, F. Pelayo García de Arquer, Amirreza Kiani, et al. 2018. CO2 electroreduction to ethylene via hydroxide-mediated copper catalysis at an abrupt interface. Science (New York, N.Y.) 360: 783–787.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Kanel, Gary C. 2017. Pathology of Liver Diseases. Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Zhang, Xiaopeng, Shaochun Zhong, Zhigeng Pan, Kevin Wong, and Ruwei Yun, ed. 2010. Entertainment for Education. Digital Techniques and Systems: 5th International Conference on E-learning and Games, Edutainment 2010, Changchun, China, August 16-18, 2010. Proceedings. Vol. 6249. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Golubov, A. A., Y. Tanaka, Y. Asano, and Y. Tanuma. 2011. Odd-Frequency Pairing in Superconducting Heterostructures. In Fundamentals of Superconducting Nanoelectronics, ed. Anatolie Sidorenko, 117–131. NanoScience and Technology. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

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 Metascience.

Blog post
Andrew, Elise. 2015. DIY Can Be Dangerous – But It’s The Invisible Dust That May Harm You The Most. IFLScience. IFLScience. August 20.


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. 1999. Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Compliance Status Information on Biomedical Equipment. T-AIMD-00-26. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Ploehs, John Ralph. 2009. The literacy benefits of middle school tutors who tutor emergent readers. Doctoral dissertation, Cincinnati, OH: University of Cincinnati.

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
Branch, John. 2016. Olympian’s Mother Leaves a Suitcase at Check-In, and It Is Destroyed. New York Times, August 16.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Keenan 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Sussman and Phillips 2009; Keenan 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Sussman and Phillips 2009)
  • Three or more authors: (Dinh et al. 2018)

About the journal

Full journal titleMetascience
ISSN (print)0815-0796
ISSN (online)1467-9981
History and Philosophy of Science
General Social Sciences

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