How to format your references using the Methods and Protocols citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Methods and Protocols. 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
Lang, T. Ebola: Embed research in outbreak response. Nature 2015, 524, 29–31.
A journal article with 2 authors
Sanchez, A.; Golding, I. Genetic determinants and cellular constraints in noisy gene expression. Science 2013, 342, 1188–1193.
A journal article with 3 authors
Copeland, N.G.; Jenkins, N.A.; O’Brien, S.J. Genomics. Mmu 16--comparative genomic highlights. Science 2002, 296, 1617–1618.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Hopkins, D.S.; Pekker, D.; Goldbart, P.M.; Bezryadin, A. Quantum interference device made by DNA templating of superconducting nanowires. Science 2005, 308, 1762–1765.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Palmquist, S.R. Comprehensive Commentary on Kant’s Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason; John Wiley & Sons, Inc: Hoboken, NJ, 2015; ISBN 9781118619599.
An edited book
Fog, K. Storytelling: Branding in Practice; Budtz, C., Yakaboylu, B., Eds.; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2005; ISBN 9783540235019.
A chapter in an edited book
Suh, J.M.; Fulginiti, K. Developing Mathematical Potential in Underrepresented Populations through Problem Solving, Mathematical Discourse and Algebraic Reasoning. In The Elements of Creativity and Giftedness in Mathematics; Sriraman, B., Lee, K.H., Eds.; SensePublishers: Rotterdam, 2011; pp. 67–79 ISBN 9789460914393.

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 Methods and Protocols.

Blog post
Carpineti, A. There Is A Man-Made Barrier Surrounding Our Planet Available online: (accessed on Oct 30, 2018).


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 Highway Trust Fund: Nearly All States Received More Funding Than They Contributed in Highway Taxes Since 2005; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2010;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Loretz, N. Human trafficking: Identification, education, and awareness: A grant proposal. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach: Long Beach, CA, 2009.

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
Saslow, L. Sorting Out Their Goals, and Options. New York Times 2009, WE6.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1,2].
This sentence cites four references [1–4].

About the journal

Full journal titleMethods and Protocols
AbbreviationMethods Protoc.
ISSN (online)2409-9279

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