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
Mesot J. 2006 Applied physics. The neutron spin-echo technique at full strength. Science 312, 1888–1889.
A journal article with 2 authors
Sfeir A, de Lange T. 2012 Removal of shelterin reveals the telomere end-protection problem. Science 336, 593–597.
A journal article with 3 authors
Huynh WU, Dittmer JJ, Alivisatos AP. 2002 Hybrid nanorod-polymer solar cells. Science 295, 2425–2427.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Li S, Ting NS, Zheng L, Chen PL, Ziv Y, Shiloh Y, Lee EY, Lee WH. 2000 Functional link of BRCA1 and ataxia telangiectasia gene product in DNA damage response. Nature 406, 210–215.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Pijaudier-Cabot G, La Borderie C, Reess T, Chen W, Maurel O, Rey-Berbeder F, de Ferron A. 2016 Electrohydraulic Fracturing of Rocks. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Rios Insua D, French S, editors. 2010 e-Democracy: A Group Decision and Negotiation Perspective. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
A chapter in an edited book
Kornau J, Albers H. 2012 Modeling Waste Characteristics and WtE Plants as a Tool for Optimum Operation Conditions. In Waste to Energy: Opportunities and Challenges for Developing and Transition Economies (ed A Karagiannidis), pp. 83–105. London: 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
Taub B. 2016 Scientists Discover How To “Switch On” Immune Cells. 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. 1979 Overpayment of Title I Funds at the Richmond City Public School System During FY 1978.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Hoffmann M. 2015 An exploratory study: Mobile device use for academics. Doctoral dissertation, Pepperdine University, Malibu, 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
Murphy MJO. 2010 For Giddyup, Give a Horse a Holiday. New York Times, 18 April. , WK2.

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

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