How to format your references using the Open Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Open 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
Butts CT. 2009 Revisiting the foundations of network analysis. Science 325, 414–416.
A journal article with 2 authors
De Yoreo JJ, Dove PM. 2004 Materials science. Shaping crystals with biomolecules. Science 306, 1301–1302.
A journal article with 3 authors
Lee ASY, Kranzusch PJ, Cate JHD. 2015 eIF3 targets cell-proliferation messenger RNAs for translational activation or repression. Nature 522, 111–114.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Hou X-G, Siveter DJ, Aldridge RJ, Siveter DJ. 2008 Collective behavior in an early Cambrian arthropod. Science 322, 224.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Knudsen S. 2005 Guide to Analysis of DNA Microarray Data. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Richey RC, editor. 2013 Encyclopedia of Terminology for Educational Communications and Technology. New York, NY: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Cabello S, Mohar B. 2009 Crossing and Weighted Crossing Number of Near-Planar Graphs. In Graph Drawing: 16th International Symposium, GD 2008, Heraklion, Crete, Greece, September 21-24, 2008. Revised Papers (eds IG Tollis, M Patrignani), pp. 38–49. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

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 Open Biology.

Blog post
Hamilton K. 2016 Do Humans Need Dairy? Here’s The Science. IFLScience. See (accessed on 30 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. 2017 School Bus Safety: Crash Data Trends and Federal and State Requirements.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Huffman KD. 2009 Teacher and administrator perceptions of a balanced school calendar and its effects on students in poverty. Doctoral dissertation, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO.

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
Barron J. 2017 Fitzgerald, Princeton and a Thoroughly Fictitious Theft. New York Times, 27 August. , A15.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

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 titleOpen Biology
AbbreviationOpen Biol.
ISSN (online)2046-2441

Other styles