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
Buchanan M. Capturing chaos. Nature 2005;435:281.
A journal article with 2 authors
Farquhar GD, Roderick ML. Atmospheric science. Pinatubo, diffuse light, and the carbon cycle. Science 2003;299:1997–8.
A journal article with 3 authors
Shiu R-F, Chin W-C, Lee C-L. Carbonaceous particles reduce marine microgel formation. Sci Rep 2014;4:5856.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Terry I, Walter GH, Moore C, Roemer R, Hull C. Odor-mediated push-pull pollination in cycads. Science 2007;318:70.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Borchard-Tuch C, Groß M. Was Biotronik alles kann. Weinheim, FRG: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA; 2005.
An edited book
Ramkumar M, editor. On a Sustainable Future of the Earth’s Natural Resources. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2013.
A chapter in an edited book
Ramsay T, Smith W, Manderson L. Brahma Kumaris: Purity and the Globalization of Faith. In: Manderson L, Smith W, Tomlinson M, editors. Flows of Faith: Religious Reach and Community in Asia and the Pacific, Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2012, p. 51–70.

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. Scientists Implant Tiny Lasers Into Living Cells. 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. Marine Transportation: Federal Financing and an Infrastructure Investment Framework. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2002.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Williams AP. Reentry of Substance Abusing Female Ex-Offenders from Prison to an Urban Community. Doctoral dissertation. George Washington University, 2012.

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
Gustines GG. Seeing Him in the Funny Papers. New York Times 2016:D7.

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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