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
P. G. de Gennes, Ultradivided Matter, Nature 412, 385 (2001).
A journal article with 2 authors
R. Chander and J. Mervis, The Bottom Line for U.S. Life Scientists, Science 294, 395 (2001).
A journal article with 3 authors
A. Snyder, E. Pamer, and J. Wolchok, IMMUNOTHERAPY. Could Microbial Therapy Boost Cancer Immunotherapy?, Science 350, 1031 (2015).
A journal article with 4 or more authors
G. A. Milne, J. L. Davis, J. X. Mitrovica, H. G. Scherneck, J. M. Johansson, M. Vermeer, and H. Koivula, Space-Geodetic Constraints on Glacial Isostatic Adjustment in Fennoscandia, Science 291, 2381 (2001).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
N. P. Lieberman, Troubleshooting Vacuum Systems (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2012).
An edited book
T. Panayiotopoulos, J. Gratch, R. Aylett, D. Ballin, P. Olivier, and T. Rist, editors , Intelligent Virtual Agents: 5th International Working Conference, IVA 2005, Kos, Greece, September 12-14, 2005. Proceedings, Vol. 3661 (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2005).
A chapter in an edited book
W. K. Silverman and A. A. Pina, Psychosocial Treatments for Phobic and Anxiety Disorders in Youth, in Handbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and Adolescents: Bridging Science and Practice, edited by R. G. Steele, T. D. Elkin, and M. C. Roberts (Springer US, Boston, MA, 2008), pp. 65–82.

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, Jumping Snails Prevail In Warm, Acidic Waters,


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, Grant Administration: Implementation of National Endowment for the Arts Reauthorization Act, No. GGD-91-102FS, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
J. C. Wulfsberg, Singing Turkish, Performing Turkishness: Message and Audience in the Song Competition of the International Turkish Olympiad, Doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona, 2015.

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
B. Sisario, The Jazz Age Relived, New York Times F8 (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 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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