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
Hayashi T and Carthew R W 2004 Surface mechanics mediate pattern formation in the developing retina Nature 431 647–52
A journal article with 3 authors
Skourti-Stathaki K, Kamieniarz-Gdula K and Proudfoot N J 2014 R-loops induce repressive chromatin marks over mammalian gene terminators Nature 516 436–9
A journal article with 99 or more authors
Schwarz D, Matta B M, Shakir-Botteri N L and McPheron B A 2005 Host shift to an invasive plant triggers rapid animal hybrid speciation Nature 436 546–9

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Omura Y, Mallik A and Matsuo N 2016 MOS Devices for Low-Voltage and Low-Energy Applications (Singapore: John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd)
An edited book
Günergun F and Raina D 2011 Science between Europe and Asia: Historical Studies on the Transmission, Adoption and Adaptation of Knowledge vol 275 (Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands)
A chapter in an edited book
Bertolissi C and Ranise S 2013 Verification of Composed Array-Based Systems with Applications to Security-Aware Workflows Frontiers of Combining Systems: 9th International Symposium, FroCoS 2013, Nancy, France, September 18-20, 2013. Proceedings Lecture Notes in Computer Science ed P Fontaine, C Ringeissen and R A Schmidt (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer) pp 40–55

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
Luntz S 2015 Long-Lost City Discovered Deep Within Honduras Rainforest 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 2009 Technology Transfer: Clearer Priorities and Greater Use of Innovative Approaches Could Increase the Effectiveness of Technology Transfer at Department of Energy Laboratories (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
Burns D 2017 Measuring the Outcome of At-Risk Students on Biology Standardized Tests When Using Different Instructional Strategies 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
Williams J 2017 New Ways to Woo Jaded Consumers New York Times C5

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