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
Lodge, D. M. Faith and science can find common ground. Nature 523, 503 (2015).
A journal article with 2 authors
Vafai, S. B. & Mootha, V. K. Mitochondrial disorders as windows into an ancient organelle. Nature 491, 374–383 (2012).
A journal article with 3 authors
Greiner, M., Regal, C. A. & Jin, D. S. Emergence of a molecular Bose-Einstein condensate from a Fermi gas. Nature 426, 537–540 (2003).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Bai, Y. et al. Production of salidroside in metabolically engineered Escherichia coli. Sci. Rep. 4, 6640 (2014).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Ben Chouikha, M. Organizational Design for Knowledge Management. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2016).
An edited book
Thermal Power Plant Performance Analysis. (Springer, 2012).
A chapter in an edited book
Blake, G. M. The Clinical Role of Bone Density Scans in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Osteoporosis. in Osteoporosis: Pathophysiology and Clinical Management (ed. Adler, R. A.) 77–95 (Humana Press, 2010).

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
Taub, B. Hammerhead Sharks Swim On Their Side Nearly All The Time. IFLScience (2016). 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. Public Safety Communications: Preliminary Information on FirstNet’s Efforts to Establish a Nationwide Broadband Network. (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
Pettengill, J. B. Elucidating the macro- and micro-evolutionary relationships of the federally listed endangered species Agalinis acuta (Orobanchaceae). (University of Maryland, College Park, 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
Goldstein, M. & Protess, B. Outline Fails to Mention Loophole for the Very Rich. New York Times A19 (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 Structural & Molecular Biology
AbbreviationNat. Struct. Mol. Biol.
ISSN (print)1545-9993
ISSN (online)1545-9985
ScopeMolecular Biology
Structural Biology

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