How to format your references using the Plant Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Plant Biology. 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
Marchio E.A. (2015) My metamorphosis. Science (New York, NY) 347:206.
A journal article with 2 authors
Young R., Gill J.J. (2015) MICROBIOLOGY. Phage therapy redux--What is to be done? Science (New York, NY) 350:1163–1164.
A journal article with 3 authors
Schmidt-Hieber C., Jonas P., Bischofberger J. (2004) Enhanced synaptic plasticity in newly generated granule cells of the adult hippocampus. Nature 429:184–187.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Zhang Y., Liu W., Banks C.E., Liu F., Li M., Xia F., Yang X. (2014) A fluorescence-quenching platform based on biomineralized hydroxyapatite from natural seashell and applied to cancer cell detection. Scientific reports 4:7556.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Searle S.R. (1997) Linear Models. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Gheorghe A.V., Masera M., Weijnen M., Vries D.L. (Eds) (2006) Critical Infrastructures at Risk: Securing the European Electric Power System. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.
A chapter in an edited book
Boer J., Hoek A., Elzerman H. (2006) Social Desirability: Consumer Aspects. In: Aiking H, Boer J de, Vereijken J (eds) Sustainable Protein Production and Consumption: Pigs or Peas? Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp 99–127.

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 Plant Biology.

Blog post
Andrew E. (2014) Why Did Dinosaurs Evolve Feathers Long Before Flight? IFLScience [online] URL: (accessed 30 October 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 (1995) Early Childhood Centers: Services to Prepare Children for School Often Limited. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Zacher B. (2013) The roles of electrode contacts in organic photovoltaics. Doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

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
Kelly C. (2011) Austin Filmmaker Scores Sight Unseen at Sundance. New York Times:A27B.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Marchio 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Marchio 2015; Young & Gill 2015).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Young & Gill 2015)
  • Three or more authors: (Zhang et al. 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titlePlant Biology
AbbreviationPlant Biol. (Stuttg.)
ISSN (print)1435-8603
ISSN (online)1438-8677
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Plant Science
General Medicine

Other styles