How to format your references using the Physics Education citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Physics Education. 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
Vrakking M 2009 Chemical physics: Electronic movies Nature 460 960–1
A journal article with 2 authors
Stuart D R and Fagnou K 2007 The catalytic cross-coupling of unactivated arenes Science 316 1172–5
A journal article with 3 authors
Shen B, Makley D M and Johnston J N 2010 Umpolung reactivity in amide and peptide synthesis Nature 465 1027–32
A journal article with 99 or more authors
Alenghat T, Meyers K, Mullican S E, Leitner K, Adeniji-Adele A, Avila J, Bućan M, Ahima R S, Kaestner K H and Lazar M A 2008 Nuclear receptor corepressor and histone deacetylase 3 govern circadian metabolic physiology Nature 456 997–1000

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Pohl J 2011 Building Science (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.)
An edited book
Chacón Rebollo T 2014 Mathematical and Numerical Foundations of Turbulence Models and Applications ed R Lewandowski (New York, NY: Springer)
A chapter in an edited book
Schwartz D and Haider A 2014 Studying Surgical Disparities: It’s Not All Black and White Success in Academic Surgery: Health Services Research Success in Academic Surgery ed J B Dimick and C C Greenberg (London: Springer) pp 47–61

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 Physics Education.

Blog post
Andrew E 2015 In Our Wi-Fi World, The Internet Still Depends On Undersea Cables IFLScience


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 2007 Passenger Rail Security: Federal Strategy and Enhanced Coordination Needed to Prioritize and Guide Security Efforts (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office)

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Burchman E K 2014 A dialogue on improvisation, space and melody: Larry Koonse’s approach to improvisation Doctoral dissertation (Long Beach, CA: California State University, Long Beach)

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
Dorman J L 2016 A Funky Place to Land in Hollywood New York Times TR3

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 titlePhysics Education
AbbreviationPhys. Educ.
ISSN (print)0031-9120
ISSN (online)1361-6552
ScopeGeneral Physics and Astronomy

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