How to format your references using the PeerJ citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for PeerJ. 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
Ray LB. 2010. Metabolism. Metabolism is not boring. Introduction. Science (New York, N.Y.) 330:1337.
A journal article with 2 authors
Bettencourt L, West G. 2010. A unified theory of urban living. Nature 467:912–913.
A journal article with 3 authors
Griesinger CB, Richards CD, Ashmore JF. 2005. Fast vesicle replenishment allows indefatigable signalling at the first auditory synapse. Nature 435:212–215.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Stevenson S, Fowler PW, Heine T, Duchamp JC, Rice G, Glass T, Harich K, Hajdu E, Bible R, Dorn HC. 2000. A stable non-classical metallofullerene family. Nature 408:427–428.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Glisic S. 2005. Advanced Wireless Communications. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Mak P-I. 2012. High-/Mixed-Voltage Analog and RF Circuit Techniques for Nanoscale CMOS. New York, NY: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Botsch M, Bommes D, Kobbelt L. 2005. Efficient Linear System Solvers for Mesh Processing. In: Martin R, Bez H, Sabin M eds. Mathematics of Surfaces XI: 11th IMA International Conference, Loughborough, UK, September 5-7, 2005. Proceedings. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, 62–83.

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 PeerJ.

Blog post
Davis J. 2017.The Only Way To Prevent The Great Barrier Reef From Dying Is To Stop Climate Change. Available at (accessed October 30, 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. 1979. New Alien Identification System--Little Help in Stopping Illegal Aliens. 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
Tripputi MT. 2009. Use of mediation in designing clinical trials with two primary endpoints. Doctoral dissertation Thesis. Washington, DC: George Washington University.

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
Oestreich JR. 2017. Bearing Witness to a Massacre. New York Times:C4.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Ray, 2010).
This sentence cites two references (Bettencourt & West, 2010; Ray, 2010).

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

  • Two authors: (Bettencourt & West, 2010)
  • Three authors: (Griesinger, Richards & Ashmore, 2005)
  • 4 or more authors: (Stevenson et al., 2000)

About the journal

Full journal titlePeerJ
ISSN (online)2167-8359
ScopeGeneral Agricultural and Biological Sciences
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
General Medicine
General Neuroscience

Other styles