How to format your references using the Physics Letters A citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Physics Letters A. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
G. Bilbe, Infectious diseases. Overcoming neglect of kinetoplastid diseases, Science. 348 (2015) 974–976.
A journal article with 2 authors
A.P. Mackenzie, S.A. Grigera, Physics. A quantum critical route to field-induced superconductivity, Science. 309 (2005) 1330–1331.
A journal article with 3 authors
M. Hulme, S.J. O’Neill, S. Dessai, Climate change. Is weather event attribution necessary for adaptation funding?, Science. 334 (2011) 764–765.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
S. Du, K. Lin, S.K. Malladi, Y. Lu, S. Sun, Q. Xu, R. Steinberger-Wilckens, H. Dong, Plasma nitriding induced growth of Pt-nanowire arrays as high performance electrocatalysts for fuel cells, Sci. Rep. 4 (2014) 6439.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
W.B. Rouse, Universities as Complex Enterprises, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ, 2016.
An edited book
M. Kratochvíl, Growing Modular: Mass Customization of Complex Products, Services and Software, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2005.
A chapter in an edited book
M.L. Escolar, M. Aldenhoven, Leukodystrophies and Lysosomal Storage Disorders, in: J.J. Boelens, R. Wynn (Eds.), Stem Cell Therapy in Lysosomal Storage Diseases, Springer, New York, NY, 2013: pp. 63–125.

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 Letters A.

Blog post
E. Andrew, Human Trial Demonstrates Antibody Therapy Could Be Effective Against HIV, IFLScience. (2015).


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, VA Information Technology: Progress Continues Although Vulnerabilities Remain, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2000.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
K.M. Nye, Crème de Pêche, Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, 2010.

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
S.M. Novick, When the Brew Is as Crucial as the Bean, New York Times. (2015) LI8.

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 Letters A
AbbreviationPhys. Lett. A
ISSN (print)0375-9601
ScopeGeneral Physics and Astronomy

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