How to format your references using the Plants citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Plants. 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
Joiner, S. OPTICS: The Internet of Tomorrow. Science 2000, 290, 1907–1908.
A journal article with 2 authors
van Loosdrecht, M.C.M.; Brdjanovic, D. Water treatment. Anticipating the next century of wastewater treatment. Science 2014, 344, 1452–1453.
A journal article with 3 authors
Vergoz, V.; Schreurs, H.A.; Mercer, A.R. Queen pheromone blocks aversive learning in young worker bees. Science 2007, 317, 384–386.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
van der Bent, M.L.; Sterken, M.G.; Volkers, R.J.M.; Riksen, J.A.G.; Schmid, T.; Hajnal, A.; Kammenga, J.E.; Snoek, L.B. Loss-of-function of β-catenin bar-1 slows development and activates the Wnt pathway in Caenorhabditis elegans. Sci. Rep. 2014, 4, 4926.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Chen, W.-Y. NeuroInvesting; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, UK, 2013; ISBN 9781118638279.
An edited book
Frontiers in Algorithmics: 4th International Workshop, FAW 2010, Wuhan, China, August 11-13, 2010. Proceedings; Lee, D.-T., Chen, D.Z., Ying, S., Eds.; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2010; Vol. 6213; ISBN 9783642145520.
A chapter in an edited book
Heimbach, T.; Fleisher, D.; Kaddoumi, A. Overcoming Poor Aqueous Solubility of Drugs for Oral Delivery. In Prodrugs: Challenges and Rewards Part 1; Stella, V.J., Borchardt, R.T., Hageman, M.J., Oliyai, R., Maag, H., Tilley, J.W., Eds.; Biotechnology: Pharmaceutical Aspects; Springer: New York, NY, 2007; pp. 157–215 ISBN 9780387497822.

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 Plants.

Blog post
Andrew, E. New Guinea Flatworm, one of the Worst Known Invasive Species, Found in US (accessed on Oct 30, 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 Business Systems Modernization: Scope and Content of DOD’s Congressional Report and Executive Oversight of Investments Need to Improve; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2010;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Roberts, J.E. Process evaluation of the Instant Word Notebook. Doctoral dissertation, Lindenwood University: St. Charles, MO, 2010.

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
Greenhouse, L. Abortion Opponents Win Dispute. New York Times 2006, A14.

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 titlePlants
ISSN (online)2223-7747

Other styles