How to format your references using the Physical Review A citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Physical Review 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.
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
J. Clayton, The Promise of T. Cruzi Genomics, Nature 465, S16 (2010).
A journal article with 2 authors
O. Hosten and P. Kwiat, Observation of the Spin Hall Effect of Light via Weak Measurements, Science 319, 787 (2008).
A journal article with 3 authors
J. Huang, C. Pray, and S. Rozelle, Enhancing the Crops to Feed the Poor, Nature 418, 678 (2002).
A journal article with 4 or more authors
G. Israelian, E. D. Mena, N. C. Santos, S. G. Sousa, M. Mayor, S. Udry, C. D. Cerdeña, R. Rebolo, and S. Randich, Enhanced Lithium Depletion in Sun-like Stars with Orbiting Planets, Nature 462, 189 (2009).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
R. J. Martinelli and D. Z. Milosevic, Project Management ToolBox (John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ, 2015).
An edited book
T. Pfeifer and P. Bellavista, editors , Wired-Wireless Multimedia Networks and Services Management: 12th IFIP/IEEE International Conference on Management of Multimedia and Mobile Networks and Services, MMNS 2009, Venice, Italy, October 26-27, 2009. Proceedings, Vol. 5842 (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2009).
A chapter in an edited book
B. Zou, G. Zhou, and Q. Zhu, Negation and Speculation Target Identification, in Natural Language Processing and Chinese Computing: Third CCF Conference, NLPCC 2014, Shenzhen, China, December 5-9, 2014. Proceedings, edited by C. Zong, J.-Y. Nie, D. Zhao, and Y. Feng (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2014), pp. 34–45.

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 Review A.

Blog post
J. Davis, Skin Imprints From One Of Europe’s Last Dinosaurs Discovered In Spain, (unpublished).


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, Charter Schools: A Growing and Diverse National Reform Movement, No. T-HEHS-95-52, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1995.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
S. Motala, Siblings Caring for Elderly Parents with Dementia, Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, 2009.

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
J. Wagner, Mets Send Duda to Rays; More Trades May Follow, New York Times B9 (2017).

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 Review A
AbbreviationPhys. Rev. A
ISSN (print)1050-2947
ISSN (online)1094-1622
ScopeAtomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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