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
C. F. McKee, Astronomy. Let There Be Dust, Science 333, 1227 (2011).
A journal article with 2 authors
R. Kurita and H. Tanaka, Critical-like Phenomena Associated with Liquid-Liquid Transition in a Molecular Liquid, Science 306, 845 (2004).
A journal article with 3 authors
Z. Liu, R. A. Neff, and D. K. Berg, Sequential Interplay of Nicotinic and GABAergic Signaling Guides Neuronal Development, Science 314, 1610 (2006).
A journal article with 4 or more authors
T. Veen, T. Borge, S. C. Griffith, G. P. Saetre, S. Bures, L. Gustafsson, and B. C. Sheldon, Hybridization and Adaptive Mate Choice in Flycatchers, Nature 411, 45 (2001).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
R. Brown, Rational Choice and Judgment (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2005).
An edited book
M. Kurosu, editor , Human Centered Design: First International Conference, HCD 2009, Held as Part of HCI International 2009, San Diego, CA, USA, July 19-24, 2009 Proceedings, Vol. 5619 (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2009).
A chapter in an edited book
M. R. J. Coolican and K. W. Lai, Clinical Challenges and Ethical Issues in Orthopedic Sports Medicine: Perspective from an Orthopedic Surgeon, in Sports Injuries: Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment and Rehabilitation, edited by M. N. Doral and J. Karlsson (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2015), pp. 7–20.

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
C. Carpineti, Watch How Marine Scientists In The Sea Of Cortez Tag Sharks, (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, GAO’s Views on the Default Task Force’s Recommendations for Reducing Default Costs in the Guaranteed Student Loan Program, No. T-HRD-88-7, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
A. Dallara, The “Femme-Homme” of the French Revolution: Gender Boundaries and Masculinization, Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, 2017.

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. Hodgman, Bonus Advice From Judge John Hodgman, New York Times MM22 (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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