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

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 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
Werner R. 2015 The focus on bibliometrics makes papers less useful. Nature 517, 245.
A journal article with 2 authors
Becker A, Grünewald U. 2003 Disaster management. Flood risk in Central Europe. Science 300, 1099.
A journal article with 3 authors
Lee H, Chah O-K, Sheen J. 2011 Stem-cell-triggered immunity through CLV3p-FLS2 signalling. Nature 473, 376–379.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Zhang H, Yang Z, Shen Y, Tong L. 2003 Crystal structure of the carboxyltransferase domain of acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase. Science 299, 2064–2067.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bécherrawy T. 2012 Mechanical and Electromagnetic Vibrations and Waves. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Benuto LT, Thaler NS, Leany BD, editors. 2014 Guide to Psychological Assessment with Asians. New York, NY: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Chambolle A, Morini M, Ponsiglione M. 2013 Minimizing movements and level set approaches to nonlocal variational geometric flows. In Geometric Partial Differential Equations proceedings (eds A Chambolle, M Novaga, E Valdinoci), pp. 93–104. Pisa: Scuola Normale Superiore.

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 B.

Blog post
Andrew E. 2015 Man’s Severed Finger Regrown Using Tissue From A Pig. IFLScience. See (accessed on 30 October 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. 2001 Restructuring of the District of Columbia Department of Public Works’ Division of Transportation.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Gonzales M. 2017 Examining institutional career preparation: Student perceptions of their workplace readiness and the role of the university in student career development. 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
Urbina I. 2016 Rising Seas Turn Coastal Houses Into a Gamble. New York Times, 24 November. , A1.

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 B
AbbreviationPhilos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci.
ISSN (print)0962-8436
ISSN (online)1471-2970
ScopeGeneral Agricultural and Biological Sciences
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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