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
Gravitz, L. Liver Cancer. Nature 2014, 516, S1.
A journal article with 2 authors
Hogue, T.S.; Pincetl, S. WATER CONSERVATION. Are You Watering Your Lawn? Science 2015, 348, 1319–1320.
A journal article with 3 authors
Osawa, M.; Anderson, D.E.; Erickson, H.P. Reconstitution of Contractile FtsZ Rings in Liposomes. Science 2008, 320, 792–794.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Liu, C.; Fu, X.; Liu, L.; Ren, X.; Chau, C.K.L.; Li, S.; Xiang, L.; Zeng, H.; Chen, G.; Tang, L.-H.; et al. Sequential Establishment of Stripe Patterns in an Expanding Cell Population. Science 2011, 334, 238–241.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Hirsch, F.; Kemp, J.; Ilkka, J. Mobile Web Services; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, UK, 2006; ISBN 9780470017982.
An edited book
Computational Approaches to Analogical Reasoning: Current Trends; Prade, H., Richard, G., Eds.; Studies in Computational Intelligence; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2014; Vol. 548; ISBN 9783642545153.
A chapter in an edited book
Le Bras, Y.; Lenca, P.; Lallich, S. Mining Interesting Rules Without Support Requirement: A General Universal Existential Upward Closure Property. In Data Mining: Special Issue in Annals of Information Systems; Stahlbock, R., Crone, S.F., Lessmann, S., Eds.; Annals of Information Systems; Springer US: Boston, MA, 2010; pp. 75–98 ISBN 9781441912794.

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. The Rise and Demise of a Super-Armoured ‘Monster Worm’ From Ancient China Available online: (accessed on 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 K-12 Education: Characteristics of the Investing in Innovation Fund; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2014;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Kim, H. Empathy in the Early Childhood Classroom: Exploring Teachers’ Perceptions, Understanding and Practices. Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University: Bloomington, IN, 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
Williams, J. Working Toward a Sunny Version of ‘Jurassic Park.’ New York Times 2017, C4.

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