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
Macilwain C. 2000 Livermore plans radical rescue for ‘mismanaged’ laser facility. Nature 403, 469–470.
A journal article with 2 authors
Lee AJ, You L. 2014 Cell biology. Cells listen to their inner voice. Science 343, 624–625.
A journal article with 3 authors
Jankowski P, McKellar ARW, Szalewicz K. 2012 Theory untangles the high-resolution infrared spectrum of the ortho-H2-CO van der Waals complex. Science 336, 1147–1150.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Wei B-B, Chen S-W, Po H-C, Liu R-B. 2014 Phase transitions in the complex plane of physical parameters. Sci. Rep. 4, 5202.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Studer Q. 2007 Results that Last. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Sannella D. 2012 Foundations of Algebraic Specification and Formal Software Development. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Bruns D, Warren PA. 2011 Assessment of Psychosocial Contributions to Disability. In Behavioral Health Disability: Innovations in Prevention and Management (ed PA Warren), pp. 73–104. New York, NY: 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 B.

Blog post
Taub B. 2016 Friendship Helps Chimps De-Stress. 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. 2011 Department of Education: Improved Oversight and Controls Could Help Education Better Respond to Evolving Priorities.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Cuomo AP. 2013 SB 48 and social media: Constituing an audience for and against California’s LGBT education legislation. 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
LaFORGIA M, Eder S. 2017 That Neighbor Who Grouses? Now President. New York Times, 6 May. , 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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