How to format your references using the Nature Protocols citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Nature Protocols. 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
Barinaga, M. SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY: Look Before You Leap. Science 289, 2028 (2000).
A journal article with 2 authors
Brookes, D. & Etkina, E. SPORE series winner. Physical phenomena in real time. Science 330, 605–606 (2010).
A journal article with 3 authors
Maurer, S. M., Firestone, R. B. & Scriver, C. R. Science’s neglected legacy. Nature 405, 117–120 (2000).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Heger, K. et al. OTULIN limits cell death and inflammation by deubiquitinating LUBAC. Nature 559, 120–124 (2018).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Coutts, J. Loft Conversions. (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2013).
An edited book
Rangel-Buitrago, N. Risk Assessment of Storms in Coastal Zones: Case Studies from Cartagena (Colombia) and Cadiz (Spain). (Springer International Publishing, 2015).
A chapter in an edited book
Li, W. & Zou, Z. Cross-Reactivity. in Allergy Bioinformatics (eds. Tao, A. & Raz, E.) 67–92 (Springer Netherlands, 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 Protocols.

Blog post
Andrew, E. What’s It Like To See Auroras On Other Planets? 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. Unmanned Aerial Systems: FAA Continues Progress toward Integration into the National Airspace. (U.S. Government Printing Office, 2015).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Wood, R. D. Correlation of conductor leadership style, musician employment status, organizational participation to orchestra musician job satisfaction. (University of Phoenix, 2010).

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. Women Suddenly Scarce Among Justices’ Clerks. New York Times A1 (2006).

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 Protocols
AbbreviationNat. Protoc.
ISSN (print)1754-2189
ISSN (online)1750-2799
ScopeGeneral Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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