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
Bourzac K. (2012) Interventions: Live long and prosper. Nature 492:S18-20.
A journal article with 2 authors
Zukor K., He Z. (2011) Regenerative medicine: drawing breath after spinal injury. Nature 475:177–178.
A journal article with 3 authors
Charnoz S., Salmon J., Crida A. (2010) The recent formation of Saturn’s moonlets from viscous spreading of the main rings. Nature 465:752–754.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Zhang H., Yin R.-S., Feng X.-B., Sommar J., Anderson C.W.N., Sapkota A., Fu X.-W., Larssen T. (2013) Atmospheric mercury inputs in montane soils increase with elevation: evidence from mercury isotope signatures. Scientific reports 3:3322.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Rounds J., Segner R. (2011) Construction Supervision. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
González-Ruibal A., Moshenska G. (Eds) (2015) Ethics and the Archaeology of Violence. Springer, New York, NY.
A chapter in an edited book
Maehata M. (2012) The Use of Lake Biwa and People’s Lifestyle. In: Kawanabe H, Nishino M, Maehata M (eds) Lake Biwa: Interactions between Nature and People. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp 309–369.

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
Luntz S. (2016) Resource Scarcity Led To Ancient Violence. 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 (1978) Need for Active Alcohol Public Education Program. 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
Rosie S.A. (2012) Examining stakeholder perceptions of educational success in the Malagasy public education system. Doctoral dissertation, University of Phoenix, Phoenix, 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
Wagner J. (2017) Baseball; Rainout Gives Injured Mets More Rest. New York Times:B14.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Bourzac 2012).
This sentence cites two references (Zukor & He 2011; Bourzac 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Zukor & He 2011)
  • Three or more authors: (Zhang et al. 2013)

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