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
Ackland GJ. 2015 MATERIALS SCIENCE. Bearing down on hydrogen. Science 348, 1429–1430.
A journal article with 2 authors
Neuman Y, Cohen Y. 2014 A vectorial semantics approach to personality assessment. Sci. Rep. 4, 4761.
A journal article with 3 authors
Suthram S, Sittler T, Ideker T. 2005 The Plasmodium protein network diverges from those of other eukaryotes. Nature 438, 108–112.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Harper KL et al. 2018 Corrigendum: Mechanism of early dissemination and metastasis in Her2+ mammary cancer. Nature 553, 366.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Equipment Testing Procedures Committee. 2007 Positive Displacement Pumps. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Dominik J. 2010 Heart Valve Surgery: An Illustrated Guide. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Zeng G, Gong B, Wang JS, Li J, Zhu J. 2014 BeiDou/GPS Indirect Fusion Precision Orbit Determination. In China Satellite Navigation Conference (CSNC) 2014 Proceedings: Volume III (eds J Sun, W Jiao, H Wu, M Lu), pp. 55–63. 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
Davis J. 2017 Biologists Are Hoping A ‘Tinder For Orangutans’ Will Get Females To Swipe Right. 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
Government Accountability Office. 2006 Internet Infrastructure: Challenges in Developing a Public/Private Recovery Plan.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Elizalde K. 2014 Relationship between Latino adolescents and their mental health well-being: A quantitative study. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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
Leland J. 2017 Dog Show? Whatever. New York Times, 14 February. , MB8.

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