How to format your references using the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. 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
Duster T. 2005 Medicine. Race and reification in science. Science 307, 1050–1051.
A journal article with 2 authors
Humler E, Besse J. 2002 A correlation between mid-ocean-ridge basalt chemistry and distance to continents. Nature 419, 607–609.
A journal article with 3 authors
van den Ent F, Amos LA, Löwe J. 2001 Prokaryotic origin of the actin cytoskeleton. Nature 413, 39–44.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Liu H, Jiang T, Han B, Liang S, Zhou Y. 2009 Selective phenol hydrogenation to cyclohexanone over a dual supported Pd-Lewis acid catalyst. Science 326, 1250–1252.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Desai J. 2013 Innovation Engine. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Pfeiffer S. 2015 Beginning HTML5 Media: Make the most of the new video and audio standards for the Web. Berkeley, CA: Apress.
A chapter in an edited book
van Heerden WS, Engelbrecht AP. 2013 Unsupervised Weight-Based Cluster Labeling for Self-Organizing Maps. In Advances in Self-Organizing Maps: 9th International Workshop, WSOM 2012 Santiago, Chile, December 12-14, 2012 Proceedings (eds PA Estévez, JC Príncipe, P Zegers), pp. 45–54. 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 Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.

Blog post
Andrew E. 2015 Declining Sperm Quality in Older Men Puts the Issue at the Centre of Fertility Debate. 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. 1988 Aircraft Preservation: Preserving DOD Aircraft Significant to Aviation History.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Ariani D. 2017 Amerindo International Nurse Recruitment Agency. 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
Koblin J. 2016 JonBenet Ramsey Case to Again Haunt TV. New York Times, 10 August. , C3.

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 titlePhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A
AbbreviationPhilos. Trans. A Math. Phys. Eng. Sci.
ISSN (print)1364-503X
ISSN (online)1471-2962
ScopeGeneral Engineering
General Mathematics
General Physics and Astronomy

Other styles