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
Leadlay P F 2014 Structural biology: enzyme assembly line pictured Nature 510 482–3
A journal article with 2 authors
Helliker B R and Richter S L 2008 Subtropical to boreal convergence of tree-leaf temperatures Nature 454 511–4
A journal article with 3 authors
Petit R J, Hu F S and Dick C W 2008 Forests of the past: a window to future changes Science 320 1450–2
A journal article with 99 or more authors
Li S P, Lew W S, Bland J A C, Lopez-Diaz L, Natali M, Vaz C A F and Chen Y 2002 Spin-engineering magnetic media Nature 415 600–1

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bertocchi M, Schwartz S L and Ziemba W T 2010 Optimizing the Aging, Retirement, and Pensions Dilemma (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
An edited book
de Franchis R and Dell’Era A 2014 Variceal Hemorrhage (New York, NY: Springer)
A chapter in an edited book
Chervenak A and Bharathi S 2008 Peer-to-Peer Approaches to Grid Resource Discovery Making Grids Work: Proceedings of the CoreGRID Workshop on Programming Models Grid and P2P System Architecture Grid Systems, Tools and Environments 12-13 June 2007, Heraklion, Crete, Greece ed P Fragopoulou and V Getov (Boston, MA: Springer US) pp 59–76

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
Carpineti A 2015 Astronomers Create A “Habitability Index” To Guide Future Exoplanet Studies 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 1998 Family Planning: Federal Funds Provided to Planned Parenthood Organizations (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
Trantham L C 2012 PSA surveillance following radical prostatectomy: What we know and why it matters Doctoral dissertation (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina)

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
Kenigsberg B 2017 Toys, Manolos and Tennis Champs New York Times AR72

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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