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
Tsushima, Y. Weaker signals induce more precise temporal-integration. Sci. Rep. 4, 4660 (2014).
A journal article with 2 authors
Hu, D. L. & Bush, J. W. M. Meniscus-climbing insects. Nature 437, 733–736 (2005).
A journal article with 3 authors
Lohmann, C., Myhr, K. L. & Wong, R. O. L. Transmitter-evoked local calcium release stabilizes developing dendrites. Nature 418, 177–181 (2002).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Gurumurthy, S. et al. The Lkb1 metabolic sensor maintains haematopoietic stem cell survival. Nature 468, 659–663 (2010).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bunnell, T. From World City to the World in One City. (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2016).
An edited book
Thyroid Disorders with Cutaneous Manifestations. (Springer, 2008).
A chapter in an edited book
Gelbukh, A., Sidorov, G., Lara-Reyes, D. & Chanona-Hernandez, L. Division of Spanish Words into Morphemes with a Genetic Algorithm. in Natural Language and Information Systems: 13th International Conference on Applications of Natural Language to Information Systems, NLDB 2008 London, UK, June 24-27, 2008 Proceedings (eds. Kapetanios, E., Sugumaran, V. & Spiliopoulou, M.) 19–26 (Springer, 2008).

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. How We Recreated The Early Universe In The Laboratory. 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. Social Security Administration: Subcommittee Questions Concerning Information Technology Challenges Facing the Commissioner. (1998).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Eggers, M. von. Searching for a Post-Jungian Psychophysical Reality in Recovery from Addiction. (Pacifica Graduate Institute, 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
Gustines, G. G. Along the Heated Trail of the Man Who Created Muslim Superheroes. New York Times C8 (2011).

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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