How to format your references using the Nature citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Nature. 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
Buston, P. Social hierarchies: size and growth modification in clownfish. Nature 424, 145–146 (2003).
A journal article with 2 authors
Coates, J. C. & de Bono, M. Antagonistic pathways in neurons exposed to body fluid regulate social feeding in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature 419, 925–929 (2002).
A journal article with 3 authors
O’Nions, K., Pitman, R. & Marsh, C. Science of nuclear warheads. Nature 415, 853–857 (2002).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Fleischer, J. W., Segev, M., Efremidis, N. K. & Christodoulides, D. N. Observation of two-dimensional discrete solitons in optically induced nonlinear photonic lattices. Nature 422, 147–150 (2003).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Pijaudier-Cabot, G. et al. Electrohydraulic Fracturing of Rocks. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2016).
An edited book
Antiviral Strategies. 189, (Springer, 2009).
A chapter in an edited book
Ramaekers, S. & Suissa, J. Rights, Needs and Duties. in The Claims of Parenting: Reasons, Responsibility and Society (ed. Suissa, J.) 99–123 (Springer Netherlands, 2012).

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 Nature.

Blog post
Luntz, S. This Is The Most Realistic Reconstruction Of A Dinosaur Ever Made. IFLScience (2016). Available at: (Accessed: 30th 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. Advanced Technology Program: Inherent Factors in Selection Process Are Likely to Limit Identification of Similar Research. (U.S. Government Printing Office, 2005).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Estep, K. L. Outreach Communication by Grassroots Environmental Organizations: A Case Study. (Florida Atlantic University, 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
Kishkovsky, S. The Dreaded Call. A Hole in the Art. Now It’s Settled. New York Times E2 (2002).

In-text citations

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

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 titleNature
ISSN (print)0028-0836
ISSN (online)1476-4687

Other styles