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
Yablonovitch E. 2000. APPLIED PHYSICS: How to Be Truly Photonic. Science (New York, N.Y.) 289:557–559.
A journal article with 2 authors
Hossfeld U, Olsson L. 2002. Portraits of science. From the modern synthesis to Lysenkoism, and back? Science (New York, N.Y.) 297:55–56.
A journal article with 3 authors
Derry WB, Putzke AP, Rothman JH. 2001. Caenorhabditis elegans p53: role in apoptosis, meiosis, and stress resistance. Science (New York, N.Y.) 294:591–595.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Marra G, Clivati C, Luckett R, Tampellini A, Kronjäger J, Wright L, Mura A, Levi F, Robinson S, Xuereb A, Baptie B, Calonico D. 2018. Ultrastable laser interferometry for earthquake detection with terrestrial and submarine cables. Science (New York, N.Y.) 361:486–490.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Rombach G. 2010. Spannbetonbau. D-69451 Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH.
An edited book
Banichuk N. 2014. Mechanics of Moving Materials. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Weiner GJ. 2014. Activation of NK Cell Responses and Immunotherapy of Cancer. In: Rosenblatt J, Podack ER, Barber GN, Ochoa A eds. Advances in Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy. New York, NY: Springer, 57–66.

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
Andrew E. 2015.How Trillions Of Tiny Solar Panels Could Power The Internet Of Things. 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. 1990. Aircraft Maintenance: Potential Shortage in National Aircraft Repair Capacity. 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
Donohue J. 2010. Resolving Past Liabilities for Future Reduction in Greenhouse Gases; Nuclear Energy and the Outstanding Federal Liability of Spent Nuclear Fuel. 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
Sisario B. 2017. Turmoil Continues at Pandora Media As C.E.O. Joins Management Exodus. New York Times:B3.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Yablonovitch, 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Yablonovitch, 2000; Hossfeld & Olsson, 2002).

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

  • Two authors: (Hossfeld & Olsson, 2002)
  • Three authors: (Derry, Putzke & Rothman, 2001)
  • 4 or more authors: (Marra et al., 2018)

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

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