How to format your references using the Nature Structural & Molecular Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Nature Structural & Molecular 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.
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
Owens, B. Cell physiology: The changing colour of fat. Nature 508, S52-3 (2014).
A journal article with 2 authors
Herbst, D. & Mas, A. Peer effects on worker output in the laboratory generalize to the field. Science 350, 545–549 (2015).
A journal article with 3 authors
Liu, W., Shang, Y. & Li, W. gp78 elongates of polyubiquitin chains from the distal end through the cooperation of its G2BR and CUE domains. Sci. Rep. 4, 7138 (2014).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Park, S. et al. Macroscopic 10-terabit-per-square-inch arrays from block copolymers with lateral order. Science 323, 1030–1033 (2009).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Davis, J. H. Statistics for Compensation. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011).
An edited book
The Evolution of Exudativory in Primates. (Springer, 2010).
A chapter in an edited book
Kuhn, A. & Schüssler, B. Urinary Incontinence and Voiding Dysfunction. in Pelvic Floor Re-education: Principles and Practice (eds. Baessler, K. et al.) 62–70 (Springer, 2008).

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 Structural & Molecular Biology.

Blog post
Andrew, E. Sumatran Tiger Gives Birth To Triplets In London Zoo. IFLScience (2014).


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. Kachemak Bay Ferry: Federally Funded Ferry Was Constructed with Limited Oversight and Faces Future Operating Challenges. (2012).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Batistick, S. A. Reclaiming One’s Gold: Imagining the Inner Child Through the Art of Therapeutic Fairy Tale Writing. (Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2015).

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
Novick, S. M. Where Po’ Boys Will Be Po’ Boys. New York Times LI8 (2016).

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 Structural & Molecular Biology
AbbreviationNat. Struct. Mol. Biol.
ISSN (print)1545-9993
ISSN (online)1545-9985
ScopeMolecular Biology
Structural Biology

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