How to format your references using the Plant Molecular Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Plant Molecular 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
Levitan IB (2004) Cell biology. A well-stocked pool. Science 304:394–395
A journal article with 2 authors
Levine AJ, Puzio-Kuter AM (2010) The control of the metabolic switch in cancers by oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Science 330:1340–1344
A journal article with 3 authors
Burslem DF, Garwood NC, Thomas SC (2001) Ecology. Tropical forest diversity--the plot thickens. Science 291:606–607
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Safina C, Rosenberg AA, Myers RA, Quinn TJ 2nd, Collie JS (2005) Oceans. U.S. ocean fish recovery: staying the course. Science 309:707–708

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Donald H, Robert D. G (2006) Longitudinal Data Analysis: Hedeker/Longitudinal. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ
An edited book
Conforti M (2014) Integer Programming. Springer International Publishing, Cham
A chapter in an edited book
Iaculo M, Falanga F, Vitale O (2011) Introduction to SSD. In: Campardo G, Tiziani F, Iaculo M (eds) Memory Mass Storage. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 213–236

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 Molecular Biology.

Blog post
Andrew E (2016) Watch What Happens When A Cat Tries To Eat A Live Octopus. In: IFLScience. Accessed 30 Oct 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 (2007) Performance and Accountability Highlights Fiscal Year 2006. 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
Koenig WE (2010) Leadership for the whole in the mythic field of C. G. Jung’s unconscious processes. Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute

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
St. John Kelly E (1995) History From Her Side. New York Times 1312

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Levitan 2004).
This sentence cites two references (Levitan 2004; Levine and Puzio-Kuter 2010).

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

  • Two authors: (Levine and Puzio-Kuter 2010)
  • Three or more authors: (Safina et al. 2005)

About the journal

Full journal titlePlant Molecular Biology
AbbreviationPlant Mol. Biol.
ISSN (print)0167-4412
ISSN (online)1573-5028
ScopeAgronomy and Crop Science
Plant Science
General Medicine

Other styles