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
MacDonald H R 2002 Immunology. T before NK Science 296 481–2
A journal article with 2 authors
Wculek S K and Malanchi I 2015 Neutrophils support lung colonization of metastasis-initiating breast cancer cells Nature 528 413–7
A journal article with 3 authors
Purohit P, Mitra A and Auerbach A 2007 A stepwise mechanism for acetylcholine receptor channel gating Nature 446 930–3
A journal article with 99 or more authors
Hill J O, Wyatt H R, Reed G W and Peters J C 2003 Obesity and the environment: where do we go from here? Science 299 853–5

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Khoei A R 2014 Extended Finite Element Method (Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd)
An edited book
Pereira M F and Shulika O 2011 Terahertz and Mid Infrared Radiation: Generation, Detection and Applications (Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands)
A chapter in an edited book
Hepburn H R, Pirk C W W and Duangphakdee O 2014 Intraspecific and Interspecific Comb-Building Honeybee Nests: Composition, Structure, Function ed C W W Pirk and O Duangphakdee (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer) pp 57–78

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 2017 The Amazon Rainforest Is Dominated By Domesticated Trees 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 2004 Aviation Safety: FAA Needs to Strengthen the Management of Its Designee Programs (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
Cong M 2015 Predictive models of cytotoxicity as mediated by exposure to environmental toxicants and drugs 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
Martin D 2013 Aleksei Balabanov, 54, Russian Film Director New York Times B10

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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