How to format your references using the Physical Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Physical Biology. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
Stuessy T F 2006 Evolutionary biology: Sympatric plant speciation in islands? Nature 443 E12; discussion E12-3
A journal article with 2 authors
Denef V J and Banfield J F 2012 In situ evolutionary rate measurements show ecological success of recently emerged bacterial hybrids Science 336 462–6
A journal article with 3 authors
Hosseini P, Wright C D and Bhaskaran H 2014 An optoelectronic framework enabled by low-dimensional phase-change films Nature 511 206–11
A journal article with 99 or more authors
Yan L, Yan Y, Pei L, Wei W and Zhao J 2014 A G-quadruplex DNA-based, label-free and ultrasensitive strategy for microRNA detection Sci. Rep. 4 7400

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Pan Y, Wang J and Li M 2013 Algorithmic and Artificial Intelligence Methods for Protein Bioinformatics (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
An edited book
Flanagan C and König B 2012 Tools and Algorithms for the Construction and Analysis of Systems: 18th International Conference, TACAS 2012, Held as Part of the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2012, Tallinn, Estonia, March 24 – April 1, 2012. Proceedings vol 7214 (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer)
A chapter in an edited book
Schmidl D, an Mey D and Müller M S 2013 Performance Characteristics of Large SMP Machines OpenMP in the Era of Low Power Devices and Accelerators: 9th International Workshop on OpenMP, IWOMP 2013, Canberra, ACT, Australia, September 16-18, 2013. Proceedings Lecture Notes in Computer Science ed A P Rendell, B M Chapman and M S Müller (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer) pp 58–70

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 Physical Biology.

Blog post
Hale T 2015 NASA Release Report On The Orbital ATK Antares Rocket Crash Last Year 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 2005 Aviation Security: Secure Flight Development and Testing Under Way, but Risks Should Be Managed as System Is Further Developed (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office)

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Ramirez B N 2012 Middle School English Language Learner Electronic Media Usage and Its Relationship to Reading Doctoral dissertation (Phoenix, AZ: University of Phoenix)

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
Gustines G G 2017 Robert Kirkman Plans New Comic Book Series New York Times 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 titlePhysical Biology
AbbreviationPhys. Biol.
ISSN (print)1478-3967
ISSN (online)1478-3975
Cell Biology
Molecular Biology
Structural Biology

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