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

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Physical Review E. 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
B. G. Saltykov, Russian Science: Breaking up Is Hard to Do, Nature 449, 536 (2007).
A journal article with 2 authors
J. N. Pitt and A. R. Ferré-D’Amaré, Rapid Construction of Empirical RNA Fitness Landscapes, Science 330, 376 (2010).
A journal article with 3 authors
J. C. Weaver, T. E. Vaughan, and R. D. Astumian, Biological Sensing of Small Field Differences by Magnetically Sensitive Chemical Reactions, Nature 405, 707 (2000).
A journal article with 4 or more authors
S. N. Lou, N. Yap, J. Scott, R. Amal, and Y. H. Ng, Influence of MoO3(110) Crystalline Plane on Its Self-Charging Photoelectrochemical Properties, Sci. Rep. 4, 7428 (2014).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
T. Oyama, Post-Crisis Risk Management (John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte. Ltd., 2 Clementi Loop, #02-01, Singapore 129809, 2010).
An edited book
A. Noy, editor , Handbook of Molecular Force Spectroscopy (Springer US, Boston, MA, 2008).
A chapter in an edited book
B. Meyer, The Dependent Delegate Dilemma, in Engineering Theories of Software Intensive Systems: Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Engineering Theories of Software Intensive Systems Marktoberdorf, Germany 3–15 August 2004, edited by M. Broy, J. Grünbauer, D. Harel, and T. Hoare (Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 2005), pp. 105–118.

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 E.

Blog post
R. Andrews, Terrifying Robo-Priest Gives You Blessings And Haunts Your Dreams, (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, Medicare Computer Systems: Year 2000 Challenges Put Benefits and Services in Jeopardy, No. AIMD-98-284, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
K. C. Johnson, Teacher and Parent Perceptions of Classroom Experiences of African American Male Students in a High School Alternative Program, Doctoral dissertation, Pepperdine University, 2013.

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
G. Johnson, Quantum Leaps, New York Times BR1 (2012).

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 E
AbbreviationPhys. Rev. E Stat. Nonlin. Soft Matter Phys.
ISSN (print)1539-3755
ISSN (online)1550-2376
ScopeStatistics and Probability
Condensed Matter Physics
Statistical and Nonlinear Physics

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