How to format your references using the Nucleic Acids Research citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Nucleic Acids Research. 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
1. Mukhopadhyay,S. (2012) Early differentiation and volatile accretion recorded in deep-mantle neon and xenon. Nature, 486, 101–104.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Knollmann,B.C. and Roden,D.M. (2008) A genetic framework for improving arrhythmia therapy. Nature, 451, 929–936.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Royer,D.L., Osborne,C.P. and Beerling,D.J. (2003) Carbon loss by deciduous trees in a CO2-rich ancient polar environment. Nature, 424, 60–62.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
1. Matsuo,Y., Imagawa,H., Nishizawa,M. and Shizuri,Y. (2005) Isolation of an algal morphogenesis inducer from a marine bacterium. Science, 307, 1598.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Ursone,P. (2015) How to Calculate Options Prices and Their Greeks John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
1. Witzany,G. and Baluška,F. eds. (2012) Biocommunication of Plants Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Tiggesbäumker,J., Fennel,T., Truong,N.X. and Meiwes-Broer,K.-H. (2010) Resolving the Ion and Electron Dynamics in Finite Systems Exposed to Intense Optical Laser Fields. In Redmer,R., Hensel,F., Holst,B. (eds), Metal-to-Nonmetal Transitions, Springer Series in Materials Science. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 85–113.

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 Nucleic Acids Research.

Blog post
1. Andrew,E. (2015) Scientists Find World’s Oldest Fossilized Sperm In Antarctica. IFLScience.


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
1. Government Accountability Office (2002) Education Research: Education Should Improve Assessments of R&D Centers, Regional Labs, and Comprehensive Centers U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Johnson,S. (2017) Searching for Identity and Truth: How Letter Writing Creates Identity in Victorian Literature.

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
1. Dobbins,J. (2017) How to Be an Airbnb Host Without Breaking the Law. New York Times.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in parentheses:

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 titleNucleic Acids Research
AbbreviationNucleic Acids Res.
ISSN (print)0305-1048
ISSN (online)1362-4962

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