How to format your references using the PLOS ONE citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for PLOS ONE. 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
1.
Stafford N. Angling saxons. Nature. 2006;441: 931.
A journal article with 2 authors
1.
Rowley JJL, Alford RA. Hot bodies protect amphibians against chytrid infection in nature. Sci Rep. 2013;3: 1515.
A journal article with 3 authors
1.
Furey ML, Pietrini P, Haxby JV. Cholinergic enhancement and increased selectivity of perceptual processing during working memory. Science. 2000;290: 2315–2319.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1.
Terai M, Izumiyama-Shimomura N, Aida J, Ishikawa N, Sawabe M, Arai T, et al. Association of telomere shortening in myocardium with heart weight gain and cause of death. Sci Rep. 2013;3: 2401.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1.
Makishima A. Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS). Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA; 2016.
An edited book
1.
Klink M, editor. Interaction of Immune and Cancer Cells. Vienna: Springer; 2014.
A chapter in an edited book
1.
Albanna BH, Moawad IF, Moussa SM, Sakr MA. Semantic Trajectories: A Survey from Modeling to Application. In: Popovich V, Claramunt C, Schrenk M, Korolenko K, Gensel J, editors. Information Fusion and Geographic Information Systems (IF&GIS’ 2015): Deep Virtualization for Mobile GIS. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2015. pp. 59–76.

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 PLOS ONE.

Blog post
1.
Andrew E. Rare Quadruple Rainbow Spotted In New York. In: IFLScience [Internet]. IFLScience; 22 Apr 2015 [cited 30 Oct 2018]. Available: https://www.iflscience.com/environment/rare-quadruple-rainbow-spotted-new-york/

Reports

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
1.
Government Accountability Office. Multiyear Leasing and Government-Wide Purchasing of Automatic Data Processing Equipment Should Result in Significant Savings. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1971 Apr. Report No.: B-115369.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1.
Hofmann TB. Adductor and abductor spasmodic dysphonia: A comparison of quality of life issues for those receiving Botox treatment. Doctoral dissertation, Northcentral University. 2008.

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
1.
Marx L. Yet Another Fine Romance. New York Times. 26 Jul 2015: ST13.

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 titlePLOS ONE
AbbreviationPLoS One
ISSN (online)1932-6203
ScopeGeneral Agricultural and Biological Sciences
General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
General Medicine

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