How to format your references using the Nature Communications citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Nature Communications. 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
Melhuish, E. C. Education. Preschool matters. Science 333, 299–300 (2011).
A journal article with 2 authors
Li, C. & Thompson, C. B. Cancer. DNA damage, deamidation, and death. Science 298, 1346–1347 (2002).
A journal article with 3 authors
Thomas, D. S. G., Knight, M. & Wiggs, G. F. S. Remobilization of southern African desert dune systems by twenty-first century global warming. Nature 435, 1218–1221 (2005).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Jablonski, D., Roy, K., Valentine, J. W., Price, R. M. & Anderson, P. S. The impact of the pull of the recent on the history of marine diversity. Science 300, 1133–1135 (2003).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Daïan, J.-F. Equilibrium and Transfer in Porous Media 3. (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2014).
An edited book
The Internet of the Future: 15th Open European Summer School and IFIP TC6.6 Workshop, EUNICE 2009, Barcelona, Spain, September 7-9, 2009. Proceedings. 5733, (Springer, 2009).
A chapter in an edited book
Liang, X., Lu, R., Lin, X. & Shen, X. Recommendation-Based Trustworthy Service Evaluation. in Security and Privacy in Mobile Social Networks (eds. Lu, R., Lin, X. & Shen, X.) 67–93 (Springer, 2013).

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 Communications.

Blog post
Andrew, E. Holding Out For ‘The One’ Makes Evolutionary Sense, Suggests Lovebirds Study. IFLScience (2015). 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. [Response to Request for Comments on Federal Contribution to Corporation for Public Broadcasting]. (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1986).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Chitakasempornkul, K. Ordinal time series analysis for Air Quality Index (AQI) in San Bernardino County. (California State University, Long Beach, 2012).

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
Marx, L. Public-Service Driven, and Into Each Other’s Arms. New York Times ST22 (2015).

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 Communications
AbbreviationNat. Commun.
ISSN (online)2041-1723
ScopeGeneral Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
General Chemistry
General Physics and Astronomy

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