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
R. Ohlemüller, Climate. Running out of Climate Space, Science 334, 613 (2011).
A journal article with 2 authors
K. R. Merikangas and N. Risch, Genomic Priorities and Public Health, Science 302, 599 (2003).
A journal article with 3 authors
C. D. Brown, D. S. Johnson, and A. Sidow, Functional Architecture and Evolution of Transcriptional Elements That Drive Gene Coexpression, Science 317, 1557 (2007).
A journal article with 4 or more authors
S. A. Korneev, I. Kemenes, N. L. Bettini, G. Kemenes, K. Staras, P. R. Benjamin, and M. O’Shea, Axonal Trafficking of an Antisense RNA Transcribed from a Pseudogene Is Regulated by Classical Conditioning, Sci. Rep. 3, 1027 (2013).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
S. Pommier, A. Gravouil, A. Combescure, and N. Moës, Extended Finite Element Method for Crack Propagation (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ USA, 2013).
An edited book
R. Meersman, T. Dillon, and P. Herrero, editors , On the Move to Meaningful Internet Systems: OTM 2011 Workshops: Confederated International Workshops and Posters: EI2N+NSF ICE, ICSP+INBAST, ISDE, ORM, OTMA, SWWS+MONET+SeDeS, and VADER 2011, Hersonissos, Crete, Greece, October 17-21, 2011. Proceedings, Vol. 7046 (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2011).
A chapter in an edited book
I. Escobar, E. Sánchez-Ortiga, G. Saavedra, and M. Martínez-Corral, New Analytical Tools for Evaluation of Spherical Aberration in Optical Microscopy, in Optical Fluorescence Microscopy: From the Spectral to the Nano Dimension, edited by A. Diaspro (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2011), pp. 85–99.

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
J. Fang, Trawling Below 600 Meters Hurts Both Biodiversity And Catch Values,


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, Biotechnology: Processing Delays Continue for Growing Backlog of Patent Applications, No. RCED-90-231, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
R. L. Ouellette, Referral Development Results of Relationship Tie- Strength for Small Business Goal -Directed Networking Groups, Doctoral dissertation, University of Phoenix, 2008.

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
D. G. Haskell, Nature’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage, New York Times A19 (2013).

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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