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
Marquis R.J. (2004) Ecology. Herbivores rule. Science (New York, NY) 305:619–621.
A journal article with 2 authors
Chaudhari K., Pradeep T. (2014) Spatiotemporal mapping of three dimensional rotational dynamics of single ultrasmall gold nanorods. Scientific reports 4:5948.
A journal article with 3 authors
Martinez F., Goodliffe A.M., Taylor B. (2001) Metamorphic core complex formation by density inversion and lower-crust extrusion. Nature 411:930–934.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Maida Y., Yasukawa M., Furuuchi M., Lassmann T., Possemato R., Okamoto N., Kasim V., Hayashizaki Y., Hahn W.C., Masutomi K. (2009) An RNA-dependent RNA polymerase formed by TERT and the RMRP RNA. Nature 461:230–235.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Williams T., Turton V. (2014) Trading Economics. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Završnik A. (Ed) (2016) Drones and Unmanned Aerial Systems: Legal and Social Implications for Security and Surveillance, 1st ed. 2016. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Ahmed N. (2013) Weak Compactness in the Space of Operator Valued Measures and Optimal Control. In: Hömberg D, Tröltzsch F (eds) System Modeling and Optimization: 25th IFIP TC 7 Conference, CSMO 2011, Berlin, Germany, September 12-16, 2011, Revised Selected Papers. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 49–58.

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. (2015) How Does The Lexus Hoverboard Actually Work? A Scientist Explains. 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 (2003) Joint Strike Fighter Acquisition: Cooperative Program Needs Greater Oversight to Ensure Goals Are Met. 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
Wiggins B.B. (2017) Using Induced Signals to Develop a Position-Sensitive Microchannel Plate Detector. Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

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
Walsh M.W. (2016) Puerto Rico Senate Votes to Halt Payments on $72 Billion Debt. New York Times:B3.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Marquis 2004).
This sentence cites two references (Marquis 2004; Chaudhari & Pradeep 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Chaudhari & Pradeep 2014)
  • Three or more authors: (Maida et al. 2009)

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