How to format your references using the Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
Elert, E. Living with leukaemia. Nature 498, S2-3 (2013).
A journal article with 2 authors
Soukoulis, C. M. & Wegener, M. Materials science. Optical metamaterials--more bulky and less lossy. Science 330, 1633–1634 (2010).
A journal article with 3 authors
Galdi, S., Arcuri, L. & Gawronski, B. Automatic mental associations predict future choices of undecided decision-makers. Science 321, 1100–1102 (2008).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Alvarez-Vasquez, F. et al. Simulation and validation of modelled sphingolipid metabolism in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nature 433, 425–430 (2005).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Coe, J. T. Unlikely Victory: How General Electric Succeeded in the Chemical Industry. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000).
An edited book
Lengstorf, J. Realtime Web Apps: With HTML5 WebSocket, PHP, and jQuery. (Apress, 2013).
A chapter in an edited book
Barton, A. & Mayboroda, S. Boundary-value Problems for Higher-order Elliptic Equations in Non-smooth Domains. in Concrete Operators, Spectral Theory, Operators in Harmonic Analysis and Approximation: 22nd International Workshop in Operator Theory and its Applications, Sevilla, July 2011 (eds. Cepedello Boiso, M., Hedenmalm, H., Kaashoek, M. A., Montes Rodríguez, A. & Treil, S.) 53–93 (Springer, 2014).

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 Reviews Molecular Cell Biology.

Blog post
Andrew, E. Psychopaths Versus Sociopaths: What Is The Difference? 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. Longer Combination Trucks: Potential Infrastructure Impacts, Productivity Benefits, and Safety Concerns. (1994).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Aguerrebere, Y. Case study of home-school visits. (Pepperdine 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
Sisario, B. Keeping the Dream Kickin’. New York Times C1 (2017).

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 Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
AbbreviationNat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol.
ISSN (print)1471-0072
ISSN (online)1471-0080
ScopeCell Biology
Molecular Biology

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