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
Jones DT. 2003 Structural biology. Learning to speak the language of proteins. Science 302, 1347–1348.
A journal article with 2 authors
Shaw AS, Huang Y. 2010 Immunology. CAR’ing for the skin. Science 329, 1154–1155.
A journal article with 3 authors
Antonovics J, Hood ME, Baker CH. 2006 Molecular virology: was the 1918 flu avian in origin? Nature 440, E9; discussion E9-10.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Ding Y, Zhang Y, Peng T, Lu Y, Jin D, Ren Q, Liu Y, Han J, Xi P. 2013 Observation of mesenteric microcirculatory disturbance in rat by laser oblique scanning optical microscopy. Sci. Rep. 3, 1762.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Mitola J III. 2002 Software Radio Architecture. New York, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Mus-Veteau I, editor. 2014 Membrane Proteins Production for Structural Analysis. New York, NY: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Armani F, Boscolo A, Bressanutti M, Dalle Feste M, Piuzzi B, De Vecchi A, Viviani E, Zweyer M. 2015 Development of a Novel Snom Probe for in Liquid Biological Samples. In Sensors: Proceedings of the Second National Conference on Sensors, Rome 19-21 February, 2014 (eds D Compagnone, F Baldini, C Di Natale, G Betta, P Siciliano), pp. 23–26. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

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 D. 2017 What’s The Point Of Sex? It’s Good For Your Physical, Social And Mental Health. 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. 1992 DOD Service Academies: Academy Preparatory Schools Need a Clearer Mission and Better Oversight.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Vado PF. 2012 Foster Care Independence Act of 1999: A policy analysis. 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
Crow K. 2003 Read All About It, Every Day for 70 Years. New York Times, 11 May. , 146.

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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