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
FitzGerald, G. A. Circadian Rhythms. Temporal targets of drug action. Science 346, 921–922 (2014).
A journal article with 2 authors
Yuan, Q. & Zhao, Y.-P. Wetting on flexible hydrophilic pillar-arrays. Sci. Rep. 3, 1944 (2013).
A journal article with 3 authors
Yurtsever, A., van der Veen, R. M. & Zewail, A. H. Subparticle ultrafast spectrum imaging in 4D electron microscopy. Science 335, 59–64 (2012).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Mikołajczyk-Stecyna, J. et al. Risk factors in abdominal aortic aneurysm and in Polish population aortoiliac occlusive disease and differences between them [corrected]. Sci. Rep. 3, 3528 (2013).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Grous, A. Fracture Mechanics 2. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012).
An edited book
Doctoral Education: Research-Based Strategies for Doctoral Students, Supervisors and Administrators. (Springer Netherlands, 2011).
A chapter in an edited book
Twardowski, M. S., Lewis, M. R., Barnard, A. H. & Zaneveld, J. R. V. In-Water Instrumentation and Platforms for Ocean Color Remote Sensing Applications. in Remote Sensing of Coastal Aquatic Environments: Technologies, Techniques and Applications (eds. Miller, R. L., Del Castillo, C. E. & Mckee, B. A.) 69–100 (Springer Netherlands, 2005).

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. New Robotic Exosuit Dramatically Cuts The Amount Of Energy Needed To Walk. 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. Digital Television Transition: Increased Federal Planning and Risk Management Could Further Facilitate the DTV Transition. (2007).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Bilbrey, J. The Positive Effects Extrinsic Motivation Can Have on Intrinsic Motivation in a Math Classroom. (Northcentral University, 2017).

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
Etheredge, P. by G. Voyeur | Christmas Trees. New York Times RE9 (2016).

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