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
Walsh, C. 2001. Enabling the chemistry of life. Nature 409: 226–231.
A journal article with 2 authors
Gerson, Alexander R., and Christopher G. Guglielmo. 2011. Flight at low ambient humidity increases protein catabolism in migratory birds. Science (New York, N.Y.) 333: 1434–1436.
A journal article with 3 authors
Norell, M. A., P. J. Makovicky, and P. J. Currie. 2001. Palaeontology. The beaks of ostrich dinosaurs. Nature 412: 873–874.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Mellman, David L., Michael L. Gonzales, Chunhua Song, Christy A. Barlow, Ping Wang, Christina Kendziorski, and Richard A. Anderson. 2008. A PtdIns4,5P2-regulated nuclear poly(A) polymerase controls expression of select mRNAs. Nature 451: 1013–1017.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Barnes, B. Kim. 2015. Exercising Influence. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Vickers, Les. 2015. Fire-Resistant Geopolymers: Role of Fibres and Fillers to Enhance Thermal Properties. Edited by Arie van Riessen and William D. A. Rickard. SpringerBriefs in Materials. Singapore: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Hoang, Mai P., and Martin C. Mihm. 2014. Congenital Nevi and Variants. In Melanocytic Lesions: A Case Based Approach, ed. Mai P. Hoang and Martin C. Mihm Jr., 111–141. New York, NY: 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
Fang, Janet. 2014. Ancient Neanderthal Skulls Reveal Insights Into Human Evolution. IFLScience. IFLScience. June 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. 1990. Air Force ADP Procurement: Contracting and Market Share Information. IMTEC-90-35FS. 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
Sulaiman, Yohanes. 2008. The Banteng and the Eagle: Indonesian Foreign Policy and the United States During the Era of Sukarno 1945-1967. Doctoral dissertation, Columbus, OH: Ohio State University.

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
Baker, A. L. 2014. Push to Rid City of Classrooms That Are Anything but Temporary. New York Times, March 31.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Walsh 2001).
This sentence cites two references (Walsh 2001; Gerson and Guglielmo 2011).

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

  • Two authors: (Gerson and Guglielmo 2011)
  • Three or more authors: (Mellman et al. 2008)

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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