How to format your references using the Physics of Life Reviews citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Physics of Life Reviews. 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
Daily GC. Ecological forecasts. Nature 2001;411:245.
A journal article with 2 authors
Foster GL, Vance D. Negligible glacial-interglacial variation in continental chemical weathering rates. Nature 2006;444:918–21.
A journal article with 3 authors
Gilchrist A, Resch KJ, White AG. Quantum information: source of triggered entangled photon pairs? Nature 2007;445:E4-5; discussion E5-6.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Zheng X, Pontes O, Zhu J, Miki D, Zhang F, Li W-X, et al. ROS3 is an RNA-binding protein required for DNA demethylation in Arabidopsis. Nature 2008;455:1259–62.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Khanna VK. Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor IGBT Theory and Design. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2005.
An edited book
Gopalakrishnakone P, Corzo GA, de Lima ME, Diego-García E, editors. Spider Venoms. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2016.
A chapter in an edited book
Horsmanheimo S, Maskey N, Kokkoniemi-Tarkkanen H, Tuomimäki L, Savolainen P. Learning Based Proactive Handovers in Heterogeneous Networks. In: Pesch D, Timm-Giel A, Calvo RA, Wenning B-L, Pentikousis K, editors. Mobile Networks and Management: 5th International Conference, MONAMI 2013, Cork, Ireland, September 23-25, 2013, Revised Selected Papers, Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2013, p. 57–68.

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 of Life Reviews.

Blog post
Davis J. Modern HIV Drugs Give Young People “Near Normal” Life Expectancy. IFLScience 2017. (accessed October 30, 2018).


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. Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2003.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Fisher A-C. Exceptionality and parent -professional conflict: Causes, prevention and resolution. Doctoral dissertation. University of Arizona, 2009.

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
Otis J. She Waited Years to Enter the Ring, but Life Forced Her to Step Out. New York Times 2017:A24.

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 of Life Reviews
AbbreviationPhys. Life Rev.
ISSN (print)1571-0645
ScopeGeneral Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Artificial Intelligence
General Physics and Astronomy

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