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
Bodelier, P.L.E. Sustainability: Bypassing the Methane Cycle. Nature 2015, 523, 534–535.
A journal article with 2 authors
Wood, W.B.; Gentile, J.M. Education. Teaching in a Research Context. Science 2003, 302, 1510.
A journal article with 3 authors
Goldblatt, C.; Lenton, T.M.; Watson, A.J. Bistability of Atmospheric Oxygen and the Great Oxidation. Nature 2006, 443, 683–686.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Li, Y.; Balédent, V.; Yu, G.; Barišić, N.; Hradil, K.; Mole, R.A.; Sidis, Y.; Steffens, P.; Zhao, X.; Bourges, P.; et al. Hidden Magnetic Excitation in the Pseudogap Phase of a High-T(c) Superconductor. Nature 2010, 468, 283–285.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Orford, J. Addiction Dilemmas; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, UK, 2012; ISBN 9781119978824.
An edited book
Multiple Classifier Systems: 9th International Workshop, MCS 2010, Cairo, Egypt, April 7-9, 2010. Proceedings; Gayar, N.E., Kittler, J., Roli, F., Eds.; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2010; Vol. 5997; ISBN 9783642121265.
A chapter in an edited book
Hutson, J.M.; Beasley, S.W. Inguinoscrotal Lesions. In The Surgical Examination of Children; Beasley, S.W., Ed.; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2013; pp. 41–61 ISBN 9783642298134.

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
Andrews, R. Climate Change May Fan The Flames Of War And Make Violent Crime More Common 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 Polar Weather Satellites: NOAA Identified Ways to Mitigate Data Gaps, but Contingency Plans and Schedules Require Further Attention; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2013;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Rees, C.L. A Systems-Level Investigation into the Genetic Determinants of Childhood-Onset Schizophrenia. Doctoral dissertation, George Washington University: Washington, DC, 2009.

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
Kishkovsky, S. David Sarkisyan, 62, Moscow Preservationist. New York Times 2010, A25.

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