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. Benner SA. Natural progression. Nature. 2001;409:459.
A journal article with 2 authors
1. Loreau M, Hector A. Partitioning selection and complementarity in biodiversity experiments. Nature. 2001;412:72–6.
A journal article with 3 authors
1. Rai A, Menon AV, Jalan S. Randomness and preserved patterns in cancer network. Sci Rep. 2014;4:6368.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1. Planz O, Seiler P, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM. Specific cytotoxic T cells eliminate cells producing neutralizing antibodies. Nature. 2003;426:474.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1. Vilensky JA, Robertson WM, Suárez-Quian CA. The Clinical Anatomy of the Cranial Nerves. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc; 2015.
An edited book
1. Choudary ADR. Real Analysis on Intervals. Niculescu CP, editor. New Delhi: Springer India; 2014.
A chapter in an edited book
1. Naterer GF, Dincer I, Zamfirescu C. Thermochemical Water-Splitting Cycles. In: Dincer I, Zamfirescu C, editors. Hydrogen Production from Nuclear Energy. London: Springer; 2013. p. 153–272.

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. Andrew E. Ancient Mini-Monster Head Mystery Solved – Here’s How We Did It [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2015 [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. Aviation Security: Slow Progress in Addressing Long-Standing Screener Performance Problems. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2000 Mar. Report No.: T-RCED-00-125.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1. Mazgaeen L. Differential RNAi Approaches to Enhance Knockdown Efficiency of Target Gene Transcripts in the Highly DDT-Resistant 91-R Strain of Drosophila melanogaster [Doctoral dissertation]. [Edwardsville, IL]: Southern Illinois University; 2017.

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. Wagner J. Dominican Players Hone Skills With AidOf Broomsticks. New York Times. 2017 Oct 6;SP1.

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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