How to format your references using the Natures Sciences Sociétés citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Natures Sciences Sociétés (NSS). 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
Berendsen, H. J., 2001. Bioinformatics. Reality simulation--observe while it happens, Science (New York, N.Y.), 294, 5550, 2304–2305.
A journal article with 2 authors
Anderson, S., Coulter, D., 2013. Neuroscience. Neuronal birth to cortical circuitry, Science (New York, N.Y.), 340, 6136, 1058–1059.
A journal article with 3 authors
Iwamoto, M., Matsunaga, S., Oiki, S., 2014. Paradoxical one-ion pore behavior of the long β-helical peptide of marine cytotoxic polytheonamide B, Scientific reports, 4, 3636.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Xiao, J., Xing, F., Huo, J., Fung, M. L., Liong, E. C., Ching, Y. P., Xu, A., Chang, R. C. C., So, K. F., Tipoe, G. L., 2014. Lycium barbarum polysaccharides therapeutically improve hepatic functions in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis rats and cellular steatosis model, Scientific reports, 4, 5587.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lu, M., 2005. Arithmetic and Logic in Computer Systems, Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Gedera, D. S. P., Williams, P. J. (Eds.), 2016. Activity Theory in Education: Research and Practice, Rotterdam, SensePublishers.
A chapter in an edited book
Degrave, F., Vanhoof, W., 2008. Towards a Normal Form for Mercury Programs, in King, A. (Ed.), Logic-Based Program Synthesis and Transformation: 17th International Symposium, LOPSTR 2007, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark, August 23-24, 2007, Revised Selected Papers, Berlin, Heidelberg, Springer (Lecture Notes in Computer Science), pp. 43–58.

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 Natures Sciences Sociétés.

Blog post
Davis, J., 2015. Enormous Fish-Eating Spiders Surge In Numbers, IFLScience, IFLScience. (online:


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, 1997. Proprietary Schools: Analysis of Comments Received From an Association of Schools, HEHS-98-12R. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Klippel, S. A., 2005. The Celtic siren: A case study of William Sharp’s seduction experience in which the numinous other is understood and interpreted, Doctoral dissertation. Pacifica Graduate Institute.

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
Greenhouse, L., 2010. My Florida Recount Memory: Talking Justice, New York Times, 21 November, p. WK10.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Berendsen, 2001).
This sentence cites two references (Berendsen, 2001, Anderson and Coulter, 2013).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Anderson and Coulter, 2013)
  • Three or more authors: (Xiao et al., 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titleNatures Sciences Sociétés
ISSN (print)1240-1307
ISSN (online)1765-2979

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