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
Mazin, I.I. Superconductivity Gets an Iron Boost. Nature 2010, 464, 183–186.
A journal article with 2 authors
Stark, J.M.; Hart, S.C. Nitrogen Storage: UV-B Radiation and Soil Microbial Communities. Nature 2003, 423, 137–138; discussion 138.
A journal article with 3 authors
Isabel, G.; Pascual, A.; Preat, T. Exclusive Consolidated Memory Phases in Drosophila. Science 2004, 304, 1024–1027.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Tocheva, E.I.; Rosell, F.I.; Mauk, A.G.; Murphy, M.E.P. Side-on Copper-Nitrosyl Coordination by Nitrite Reductase. Science 2004, 304, 867–870.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bains, G. Cultural DNA; John Wiley & Sons, Inc: Hoboken, NJ, 2015; ISBN 9781119209461.
An edited book
FM 2008: Formal Methods: 15th International Symposium on Formal Methods, Turku, Finland, May 26-30, 2008 Proceedings; Cuellar, J., Maibaum, T., Sere, K., Eds.; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2008; Vol. 5014; ISBN 9783540682356.
A chapter in an edited book
Ross, C. Innovating Means of Payment in Chile, 1840s–1860. In The Book of Payments: Historical and Contemporary Views on the Cashless Society; Batiz-Lazo, B., Efthymiou, L., Eds.; Palgrave Macmillan UK: London, 2016; pp. 33–42 ISBN 9781137602305.

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
Fang, J. Watch a Baby Gorilla Being Born! (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 Social Security Administration: Year 2000 Readiness Efforts Helped Ensure Century Rollover and Leap Year Success; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2000;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Duncan, E.A. Environmental Controls of Black Abalone Body Temperature Determine Risks of Thermal Stress and Disease. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach: Long Beach, CA, 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
Crow, K. Fire Chief Questions Closing of Streets. New York Times 2002, 145.

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