How to format your references using the Methods citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Methods. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
V. Lučić, Neuroscience: towards unified vesicle endocytosis, Nature. 515 (2014) 207–208.
A journal article with 2 authors
D. Porcello, S. Hsi, Science education. Crowdsourcing and curating online education resources, Science. 341 (2013) 240–241.
A journal article with 3 authors
O.D. Velev, B.G. Prevo, K.H. Bhatt, On-chip manipulation of free droplets, Nature. 426 (2003) 515–516.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
K. Zioutas, D.H.H. Hoffmann, K. Dennerl, T. Papaevangelou, Physics. What is dark matter made of?, Science. 306 (2004) 1485–1488.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
S.A. Morris, Food and Package Engineering, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK, 2011.
An edited book
S.J. Kennelly, ed., By-catch Reduction in the World’s Fisheries, Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 2007.
A chapter in an edited book
G. Papandreou, A. Katsamanis, A. Katsamanis, V. Pitsikalis, P. Maragos, Adaptive Multimodal Fusion by Uncertainty Compensation with Application to Audio-Visual Speech Recognition, in: P. Maragos, A. Potamianos, P. Gros (Eds.), Multimodal Processing and Interaction: Audio, Video, Text, Springer US, Boston, MA, 2008: pp. 1–15.

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.

Blog post
J. Davis, Doctors Discover How To Manipulate Wounds To Regenerate Into Skin Rather Than Scar Tissue, IFLScience. (2017).


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, Post-9/11 GI Bill: Additional Actions Needed to Help Reduce Overpayments and Increase Collections, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2015.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
G. Abedin, Exploring the potential of art-based education for adolescents with learning disabilities: A case study of engagement in learning through the arts, Doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park, 2010.

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
M.J. de la MERCED, Nestlé Plans for Buybacks And, Perhaps, Acquisitions, New York Times. (2017) B4.

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
ISSN (print)1046-2023
ScopeGeneral Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Molecular Biology

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