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
Marty, B. Planetary science. The primordial porridge. Science 2006, 312, 706–707.
A journal article with 2 authors
Pokrovski, G.S.; Dubrovinsky, L.S. The S3- ion is stable in geological fluids at elevated temperatures and pressures. Science 2011, 331, 1052–1054.
A journal article with 3 authors
Rikkinen, J.; Oksanen, I.; Lohtander, K. Lichen guilds share related cyanobacterial symbionts. Science 2002, 297, 357.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Jones, M.W.M.; Elgass, K.; Junker, M.D.; Luu, M.B.; Ryan, M.T.; Peele, A.G.; van Riessen, G.A. Mapping biological composition through quantitative phase and absorption X-ray ptychography. Sci. Rep. 2014, 4, 6796.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Borisenko, V.E.; Ossicini, S. What is What in the Nanoworld; Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA: Weinheim, Germany, 2012; ISBN 9783527648368.
An edited book
Montoya Sánchez de Pablo, J. How Green are Electric or Hydrogen-Powered Cars?: Assessing GHG Emissions of Traffic in Spain; Miravalles López, M., Bret, A., Eds.; SpringerBriefs in Energy; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2016; ISBN 9783319324333.
A chapter in an edited book
Fujiwara, H.; Iwama, K.; Sekiguchi, Y. Average-Case Competitive Analyses for One-Way Trading. In Computing and Combinatorics: 14th Annual International Conference, COCOON 2008 Dalian, China, June 27-29, 2008 Proceedings; Hu, X., Wang, J., Eds.; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2008; pp. 41–51 ISBN 9783540697329.

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. Failure In Real Science Is Good – And Different From Phony Controversies (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 Biotechnology: Delays in and Status of EPA’s Efforts to Issue a TSCA Regulation; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1992;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Merkurjev, D. Understanding Enhancer Role in Transcriptional Response. Doctoral dissertation, University of California San Diego: La Jolla, 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
Kleinfield, N.R. Broken Boys, Thieves, Killers, and Now Escapees. New York Times 2015, A1.

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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