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
Ferlaino F 2014 Molecular physics: Complexity trapped by simplicity Nature 512 261–2
A journal article with 2 authors
Messing G L and Stevenson A J 2008 Materials science. Toward pore-free ceramics Science 322 383–4
A journal article with 3 authors
Ren A, Rajashankar K R and Patel D J 2012 Fluoride ion encapsulation by Mg2+ ions and phosphates in a fluoride riboswitch Nature 486 85–9
A journal article with 99 or more authors
Perfettini H, Avouac J-P, Tavera H, Kositsky A, Nocquet J-M, Bondoux F, Chlieh M, Sladen A, Audin L, Farber D L and Soler P 2010 Seismic and aseismic slip on the central Peru megathrust Nature 465 78–81

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Chance D M 2008 Essays in Derivatives (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
An edited book
Fioranelli M 2011 Cardiologia dello Sport: Diagnostica e clinica cardiovascolare ed G Frajese (Milano: Springer)
A chapter in an edited book
Orbay H and Cai W 2014 Tissue Engineering Applications for Peripheral Nerve Repair Engineering in Translational Medicine ed W Cai (London: Springer) pp 133–53

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 Poll Results Show Disparity Between Scientists And American Public On Scientific Issues 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 1976 New Computer Was Not Needed for the St. Louis Computer Center (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
Cook M M 2017 An Examination of the Proportion of Special Education Students in Single-Parent Homes in Comparison to Regular Education Students in Similar Households Doctoral dissertation ( St. Charles, MO: Lindenwood University)

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

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

Other styles