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
1.
Nowak, M. A. Five rules for the evolution of cooperation. Science 314, 1560–1563 (2006).
A journal article with 2 authors
1.
Sesma, A. & Osbourn, A. E. The rice leaf blast pathogen undergoes developmental processes typical of root-infecting fungi. Nature 431, 582–586 (2004).
A journal article with 3 authors
1.
Trainor, P. A., Ariza-McNaughton, L. & Krumlauf, R. Role of the isthmus and FGFs in resolving the paradox of neural crest plasticity and prepatterning. Science 295, 1288–1291 (2002).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
1.
Stiffler, M. A. et al. PDZ domain binding selectivity is optimized across the mouse proteome. Science 317, 364–369 (2007).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1.
Tavakoli, J. M. Structured Finance and Collateralized Debt Obligations. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008).
An edited book
1.
Dannen, C. Beginning iOS Apps with Facebook and Twitter APIs: For iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. (Apress, 2011).
A chapter in an edited book
1.
Staack, H. Xetra Active Funds (XAF) — More than “Just” Index Tracking. in Exchange Traded Funds: Structure, Regulation and Application of a New Fund Class (ed. Hehn, E.) 61–70 (Springer, 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 Communications.

Blog post
1.
Andrew, D. Five Ways To Make Your Child a Creative Genius. IFLScience https://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/five-ways-to-make-your-child-a-creative-genius/ (2017).

Reports

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
1.
Government Accountability Office. Army Maintenance: More Effective Implementation of Maintenance Expenditure Limits Needed. (1991).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1.
Saperstein, A. M. Susceptibility to smoking and nicotine dependence in schizophrenia. (University of Maryland, College Park, 2009).

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
1.
Barry, E. & Kishkovsky, S. Parsing Motives In Bolshoi Attack. New York Times C1 (2013).

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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