How to format your references using the PLOS Pathogens citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for PLOS Pathogens. 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
Abbott A. Last-minute floods sink research. Nature. 2001;413: 443.
A journal article with 2 authors
Ottino JM, Wiggins S. Applied physics. Designing optimal micromixers. Science. 2004;305: 485–486.
A journal article with 3 authors
Grima JN, Attard D, Gatt R. Materials science. Unusual thermoelastic properties of methanol monohydrate. Science. 2011;331: 687–688.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Panda SK, Dasgupta I, Şaşıoğlu E, Blügel S, Sarma DD. NiS--an unusual self-doped, nearly compensated antiferromagnetic metal. Sci Rep. 2013;3: 2995.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Valière J-C. Acoustic Particle Velocity Measurements Using Lasers. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2014.
An edited book
Fukami N, editor. Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection: Principles and Practice. New York, NY: Springer; 2015.
A chapter in an edited book
Mostaghim S, Teich J. Quad-trees: A Data Structure for Storing Pareto Sets in Multiobjective Evolutionary Algorithms with Elitism. In: Abraham A, Jain L, Goldberg R, editors. Evolutionary Multiobjective Optimization: Theoretical Advances and Applications. London: Springer; 2005. pp. 81–104.

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 Pathogens.

Blog post
Carpineti A. Experiment Proves Einstein Wrong. In: IFLScience. IFLScience; 16 Nov 2015.


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. Higher Education: Grants Effective at Increasing Minorities’ Chances of Graduating. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1994 May. Report No.: T-HEHS-94-168.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Poudel SR. Models and Algorithms to Solve a Reliable and Congested Biomass Supply Chain Network Designing Problem under Uncertainty. Doctoral dissertation, Mississippi State University. 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
Saslow L. One Pilgrim and His Very Personal Hymnal. New York Times. 23 Apr 2006: 14LI10.

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 Pathogens
AbbreviationPLoS Pathog.
ISSN (print)1553-7366
ISSN (online)1553-7374
Molecular Biology

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