How to format your references using the mSystems citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for mSystems. 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
Gandhi KJK. 2015. The best decision I ever made. Science 350:1122.
A journal article with 2 authors
White RJ, Averner M. 2001. Humans in space. Nature 409:1115–1118.
A journal article with 3 authors
Ye K, Cong B, Ye D. 2000. The possible subduction of continental material to depths greater than 200 km. Nature 407:734–736.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Barthe C, Cony-Makhoul P, Melo JV, Mahon JR. 2001. Roots of clinical resistance to STI-571 cancer therapy. Science 293:2163.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Haginomori E, Koshiduka T, Arai J, Ikeda H. 2016. Power System Transient Analysis. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Wallace TC. 2013. Dietary Supplement Regulation in the United States. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Tenberge KB. 2007. Morphology and Cellular Organisation in Botrytis Interactions with Plants, p. 67–84. In Elad, Y, Williamson, B, Tudzynski, P, Delen, N (eds.), Botrytis: Biology, Pathology and Control. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.

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 mSystems.

Blog post
Taub B. 2016. UK Public Health Experts Call For Drug Use To Be Decriminalized. IFLScience. IFLScience.


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. 2015. Highlights of a Forum: Financial Literacy: The Role of the Workplace. GAO-15-639SP. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Kurulugama RT. 2009. Overtone mobility spectrometry. Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

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
Wagner J. 2017. Mets Fix Duda’s Swing, With Help From an Angel. New York Times.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in parentheses:

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 titlemSystems
ISSN (online)2379-5077

Other styles