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
Selkoe DJ. 2003 Folding proteins in fatal ways. Nature 426, 900–904.
A journal article with 2 authors
Weaver AJ, Hillaire-Marcel C. 2004 Ocean science. Global warming and the next ice age. Science 304, 400–402.
A journal article with 3 authors
Grantab R, Shenoy VB, Ruoff RS. 2010 Anomalous strength characteristics of tilt grain boundaries in graphene. Science 330, 946–948.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Li Y, Liang B, Gu Z-M, Zou X-Y, Cheng J-C. 2013 Reflected wavefront manipulation based on ultrathin planar acoustic metasurfaces. Sci. Rep. 3, 2546.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Sobel A. 2009 All for One. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Homma I, Onimaru H, Fukuchi Y, editors. 2010 New Frontiers in Respiratory Control: XIth Annual Oxford Conference on Modeling and Control of Breathing. 1st edn. New York, NY: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Chambrone L, de la Rosa-Garza M, Ramos UD, Reino DM, Rossy LAB. 2015 Complications, Adverse Effects, and Patient-Centered Outcomes of Soft Tissue Augmentation Procedures and the Use of Gingival Soft Tissue Substitutes. In Evidence-Based Periodontal and Peri-Implant Plastic Surgery: A Clinical Roadmap from Function to Aesthetics (ed L Chambrone), pp. 147–173. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

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
Evans K. 2017 Scientists Aim To Brew Beer On The Moon. 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. 1978 NORAD’s Information Processing Improvement Program: Will It Enhance Mission Capability?

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Bardhoshi G. 2012 The Relationship Between Assignment of Non-Counseling Duties and Burnout Among Professional School Counselors. Doctoral dissertation, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

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
Shpigel B. 2016 Fighting It Out in a Race for the Perfect Wheelchair. New York Times, 10 September. , D2.

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