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.
Sánchez-Bayo F. Environmental science. The trouble with neonicotinoids. Science. 2014;346: 806–807.
A journal article with 2 authors
1.
Hoekstra HE, Price T. Evolution. Parallel evolution is in the genes. Science. 2004;303: 1779–1781.
A journal article with 3 authors
1.
Jensen RB, Carreira A, Kowalczykowski SC. Purified human BRCA2 stimulates RAD51-mediated recombination. Nature. 2010;467: 678–683.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
1.
Yu Y, Tong Q, Li Z, Tian J, Wang Y, Su F, et al. Improved site-specific recombinase-based method to produce selectable marker- and vector-backbone-free transgenic cells. Sci Rep. 2014;4: 4240.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1.
Harrington PJ. Pharmaceutical Process Chemistry for Synthesis. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2010.
An edited book
1.
Luo Y, editor. Cooperative Design, Visualization, and Engineering: 12th International Conference, CDVE 2015, Mallorca, Spain, September 20-23, 2015. Proceedings. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2015.
A chapter in an edited book
1.
Alhadad N, Busnel Y, Serrano-Alvarado P, Lamarre P. Trust Evaluation of a System for an Activity with Subjective Logic. In: Eckert C, Katsikas SK, Pernul G, editors. Trust, Privacy, and Security in Digital Business: 11th International Conference, TrustBus 2014, Munich, Germany, September 2-3, 2014 Proceedings. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2014. pp. 48–59.

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 D. Decriminalise Use Of Medical Marijuana And Legalise Small-Scale Cultivation. In: IFLScience. IFLScience; 17 Sep 2016.

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. Air Traffic Control: Improvements Needed In FAA’s Management of Acquisitions. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1993 May. Report No.: T-RCED-93-36.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1.
Griffith A. The Curious Case of Implementation: Enactment of the California Community College Student Equity Initiative. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach. 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
1.
Hill J, Kramer AE. No Love for Valentine’s: In Russia, Florists Bank on a Day for Women. New York Times. 8 Mar 2017: B7.

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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