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.
Knoblich JA. Cell biology. Sara splits the signal. Science. 2006;314: 1094–1096.
A journal article with 2 authors
1.
Litchinitser NM, Sun J. APPLIED OPTICS. Optical meta-atoms: Going nonlinear. Science. 2015;350: 1033–1034.
A journal article with 3 authors
1.
Doebeli M, Hauert C, Killingback T. The evolutionary origin of cooperators and defectors. Science. 2004;306: 859–862.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1.
Erler JT, Bennewith KL, Nicolau M, Dornhöfer N, Kong C, Le Q-T, et al. Lysyl oxidase is essential for hypoxia-induced metastasis. Nature. 2006;440: 1222–1226.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1.
McSween TE. Values-Based Safety Process. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2005.
An edited book
1.
Ivancevic TT. Complex Sports Biodynamics: With Practical Applications in Tennis. Jovanovic B, Djukic S, Djukic M, Markovic S, editors. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2009.
A chapter in an edited book
1.
Lee J, Cho H, Kim YS. Agile Supply Chain Decision Support System. In: Iyer LS, Power DJ, editors. Reshaping Society through Analytics, Collaboration, and Decision Support: Role of Business Intelligence and Social Media. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2015. pp. 29–50.

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. Cockroach Cyborgs Could Help Rescue Crews After Disasters. In: IFLScience [Internet]. IFLScience; 6 Nov 2014 [cited 30 Oct 2018]. Available: https://www.iflscience.com/technology/cockroach-cyborgs-could-help-rescue-crews-after-disasters/

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. Federal Communications Commission Can Further Improve Its Licensing Activities. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1983 Apr. Report No.: RCED-83-90.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1.
May LA. Teacher compensation and the academic achievement of high school students. Doctoral dissertation, Lindenwood University. 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
1.
Leland J. Mystery Ends: Date and Venue Are Set for Chess Event. New York Times. 9 Aug 2016: A17.

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

Other styles