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
Martin, A. Oceans.The seasonal smorgasbord of the seas. Science 337, 46–47 (2012).
A journal article with 2 authors
Marchiori, D. & Warglien, M. Predicting human interactive learning by regret-driven neural networks. Science 319, 1111–1113 (2008).
A journal article with 3 authors
Bouret, S. G., Draper, S. J. & Simerly, R. B. Trophic action of leptin on hypothalamic neurons that regulate feeding. Science 304, 108–110 (2004).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Towers, M., Mahood, R., Yin, Y. & Tickle, C. Integration of growth and specification in chick wing digit-patterning. Nature 452, 882–886 (2008).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Johnson, D. W. & Woodward, J. L. Release. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010).
An edited book
Rao, K. S. Robust Emotion Recognition using Spectral and Prosodic Features. (Springer, 2013).
A chapter in an edited book
Ohnishi, A. Megasphaera as Lactate-Utilizing Hydrogen-Producing Bacteria. in Microbial Factories: Biofuels, Waste treatment: Volume 1 (ed. Kalia, V. C.) 47–71 (Springer India, 2015).

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
Andrew, E. Could T. Rex Really Only See You If You Moved? IFLScience (2014).


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. Customs and INS: Information on Inspection, Infrastructure, Traffic Flow, and Security Matters at the Detroit Port of Entry. (2002).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Thompson, K. Paid formal caregivers and caregiver burden: A quantitative study. (California State University, Long Beach, 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
Greenhouse, L. As to the Direction of the Roberts Court: The Jury Is Still Out. New York Times A15 (2007).

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