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
Keller, R. Shaping the vertebrate body plan by polarized embryonic cell movements. Science 298, 1950–1954 (2002).
A journal article with 2 authors
Jordan, M. I. & Mitchell, T. M. Machine learning: Trends, perspectives, and prospects. Science 349, 255–260 (2015).
A journal article with 3 authors
Fuchs, B., Sornette, D. & Thurner, S. Fractal multi-level organisation of human groups in a virtual world. Sci. Rep. 4, 6526 (2014).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Mahendiran, K., Elie, C., Nebel, J.-C., Ryan, A. & Pierscionek, B. K. Primary sequence contribution to the optical function of the eye lens. Sci. Rep. 4, 5195 (2014).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Terré, M., Pischella, M. & Vivier, E. Wireless Telecommunication Systems. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2013).
An edited book
Springer Handbook of Nanotechnology. (Springer, 2007).
A chapter in an edited book
Xiao, G. & Madabhushi, A. Aggregated Distance Metric Learning (ADM) for Image Classification in Presence of Limited Training Data. in Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention – MICCAI 2011: 14th International Conference, Toronto, Canada, September 18-22, 2011, Proceedings, Part III (eds. Fichtinger, G., Martel, A. & Peters, T.) 33–40 (Springer, 2011).

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
Davis, J. Battle Of The Deep Sea Monsters: Colossal Squid Vs Giant Toothfish. IFLScience (2015).


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. Federal Research: Information on Site Selection Process for DOE’s Super Collider. (1989).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Terry, E. J. In search of leadership: A look at women presidents in Georgia’s two-year colleges and technical colleges. (Capella University, 2008).

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
Neuman, W. A Hammer Comes Down on an Honor for Britain. New York Times A6 (2014).

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