How to format your references using the Plant Methods citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Plant Methods. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
1. Grayson M. Cannabis. Nature. 2015;525:S1.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Rogers G, Dragert H. Episodic tremor and slip on the Cascadia subduction zone: the chatter of silent slip. Science. 2003;300:1942–3.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Weisbuch M, Pauker K, Ambady N. The subtle transmission of race bias via televised nonverbal behavior. Science. 2009;326:1711–4.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Wu H, Zhou J, Lan C, Guo Y, Bi K. Microwave memristive-like nonlinearity in a dielectric metamaterial. Sci Rep. 2014;4:5499.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Rosplock K. The Complete Direct Investing Handbook. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2017.
An edited book
1. Demuth M. Determining Spectra in Quantum Theory. Krishna M, editor. Boston, MA: Birkhäuser; 2005.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Hamlington PE, Szwalek JL, Dahm WJA. Scale-by-Scale Assessments of the Approach to Isotropy. In: Oberlack M, Khujadze G, Günther S, Weller T, Frewer M, Peinke J, et al., editors. Progress in Turbulence II: Proceedings of the iTi Conference in Turbulence 2005. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2007. p. 21–5.

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 Methods.

Blog post
1. Fang J. Corals Eat By Stirring Up Turbulent Vortexes [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2014 [cited 2018 Oct 30]. Available from:


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
1. Government Accountability Office. The Rise of Political Science. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1988 Jan. Report No.: 137895.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Kao CH. Community mental health care for Chinese Americans: A grant proposal [Doctoral dissertation]. [Long Beach, CA]: California State University, Long Beach; 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
1. Stellin S. Who Is Watching the Watch Lists? New York Times. 2013 Dec 1;SR4.

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 titlePlant Methods
AbbreviationPlant Methods
ISSN (online)1746-4811
ScopePlant Science

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