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
Nordhaus, W. Economics. Critical assumptions in the Stern Review on climate change. Science 317, 201–202 (2007).
A journal article with 2 authors
Esler, W. P. & Wolfe, M. S. A portrait of Alzheimer secretases--new features and familiar faces. Science 293, 1449–1454 (2001).
A journal article with 3 authors
Quinto-Su, P. A., Suzuki, M. & Ohl, C.-D. Fast temperature measurement following single laser-induced cavitation inside a microfluidic gap. Sci. Rep. 4, 5445 (2014).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Zhu, F. et al. The interaction landscape between transcription factors and the nucleosome. Nature 562, 76–81 (2018).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Hitz, C. B., Ewing, J. & Hecht, J. Introduction to Laser Technology. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012).
An edited book
Behavioral Approaches to Chronic Disease in Adolescence: A Guide to Integrative Care. (Springer, 2009).
A chapter in an edited book
Liu, X., Lei, B. & Liu, Y. The Application of Phosphor in Agricultural Field. in Phosphors, Up Conversion Nano Particles, Quantum Dots and Their Applications: Volume 2 (ed. Liu, R.-S.) 119–137 (Springer, 2016).

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
Andrews, R. Cyborg Roses Could Be Used To Grow Computer Systems. 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. Vocational Education: Changes at High School Level After Amendments to Perkins Act. (1995).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Clater, M. J. Interposed between God and man: Agency in the Requiems of Berlioz and Fauré. (Indiana University, 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
Vecsey, G. Summoning Another Storm. New York Times D8 (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 Protocols
AbbreviationNat. Protoc.
ISSN (print)1754-2189
ISSN (online)1750-2799
ScopeGeneral Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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