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
Xu, X. Journal Club. A Palaeontologist Considers the Evolution of Birds’ Mechanism of Breathing. Nature 2010, 464, 961.
A journal article with 2 authors
McLennan, M.R.; Hockings, K.J. Wild Chimpanzees Show Group Differences in Selection of Agricultural Crops. Sci. Rep. 2014, 4, 5956.
A journal article with 3 authors
Kobayashi, S.; Goto-Yamamoto, N.; Hirochika, H. Retrotransposon-Induced Mutations in Grape Skin Color. Science 2004, 304, 982.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Nourbakhsh, I.; Sargent, R.; Wright, A.; Cramer, K.; McClendon, B.; Jones, M. Mapping Disaster Zones. Nature 2006, 439, 787–788.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Anderson, D. TKO Sales!; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2007; ISBN 9781118256077.
An edited book
Oliehoek, F.A. A Concise Introduction to Decentralized POMDPs; Amato, C., Ed.; SpringerBriefs in Intelligent Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Multiagent Systems, and Cognitive Robotics; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2016; ISBN 9783319289274.
A chapter in an edited book
Toulouevski, Y.N.; Zinurov, I.Y. Increasing Scrap Melting Rate by Means of Bath Blowing. In Electric Arc Furnace with Flat Bath: Achievements and Prospects; Zinurov, I.Y., Ed.; SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2015; pp. 83–115 ISBN 9783319158853.

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, D. Why Does Eating Pineapple Make Your Mouth Sore? Available online: (accessed on 30 October 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 Education Regulations: Reasons for Delays in Issuance; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1990;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Lee, T. Implementation of an After-School Program to Reduce the Suicide Risk of Transgender Youth: A Grant Proposal. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach: Long Beach, CA, 2013.

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
Grippe, J. A Goal-Oriented Mother’s 2 Forbidden Words: ‘I Can’t.’ New York Times 2017, A18.

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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