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
Xie, T. Tunable polymer multi-shape memory effect. Nature 2010, 464, 267–270.
A journal article with 2 authors
Krupovic, M.; Bamford, D.H. Virology. Revealing virus-host interplay. Science 2011, 333, 45–46.
A journal article with 3 authors
Unterreithmeier, Q.P.; Weig, E.M.; Kotthaus, J.P. Universal transduction scheme for nanomechanical systems based on dielectric forces. Nature 2009, 458, 1001–1004.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Scherz, P.J.; Harfe, B.D.; McMahon, A.P.; Tabin, C.J. The limb bud Shh-Fgf feedback loop is terminated by expansion of former ZPA cells. Science 2004, 305, 396–399.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Kenett, R.S.; Zacks, S.; Amberti, D. Modern Industrial Statistics; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, UK, 2013; ISBN 9781118763667.
An edited book
Strategy, Control and Competitive Advantage: Case Study Evidence; Jannesson, E., Nilsson, F., Rapp, B., Eds.; Management for Professionals; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2014; ISBN 9783642391330.
A chapter in an edited book
Glynn, P.W.; Manzello, D.P. Bioerosion and Coral Reef Growth: A Dynamic Balance. In Coral Reefs in the Anthropocene; Birkeland, C., Ed.; Springer Netherlands: Dordrecht, 2015; pp. 67–97 ISBN 9789401772488.

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
Andrew, E. Physicists Create World’s Coolest Molecules (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 Underinflated Tires in the United States; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2007;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Eslava Rios, J. Automatic melanoma detection in dermatological images. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach: Long Beach, CA, 2015.

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
Murphy, M.J.O. 101 Years Ago: ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Had its First Screenings. New York Times 2016, C29.

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

Other styles