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
Tauxe, W. A tumour through time. Nature 527, S102-3 (2015).
A journal article with 2 authors
McKerracher, L. & Ellezam, B. Development. Putting the brakes on regeneration. Science 296, 1819–1820 (2002).
A journal article with 3 authors
Doi, T., Behera, S. K. & Yamagata, T. Predictability of the Ningaloo Niño/Niña. Sci. Rep. 3, 2892 (2013).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Phillips, L. R. et al. Voltage-sensor activation with a tarantula toxin as cargo. Nature 436, 857–860 (2005).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Grinyer, A. Palliative and End of Life Care for Children and Young People. (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2012).
An edited book
Kuhn, D. Generalized Bounds for Convex Multistage Stochastic Programs. vol. 548 (Springer, 2005).
A chapter in an edited book
Chia, C. K. & Hopkinson, M. Catastrophic Optical Damage in Quantum Dot Lasers. in Quantum Dot Devices (ed. Wang, Z. M.) 93–108 (Springer, 2012).

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
Evans, K. Divers Reveal Shocking Images Of Mutilated Banjo Sharks To Highlight Animal Cruelty. 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. Air Traffic Control: Status of FAA’s Implementation of the Display System Replacement Project. (1999).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Gonzalez, S. E. Ideal leadership practices in Head Start: Understanding leadership from the perspectives of directors and teachers. (California State University, Long Beach, 2014).

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
Kolomatsky, M. Mom and Pop Own Fewer Rentals. New York Times RE2 (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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