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
Gershon D. Cell biology gets plugged in. Nature. 2002;417: 6.
A journal article with 2 authors
Singer AL, Koretzky GA. Control of T cell function by positive and negative regulators. Science. 2002;296: 1639–1640.
A journal article with 3 authors
Jiang G, Kennedy MJ, Christie-Blick N. Stable isotopic evidence for methane seeps in Neoproterozoic postglacial cap carbonates. Nature. 2003;426: 822–826.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Mani R-S, Tomlins SA, Callahan K, Ghosh A, Nyati MK, Varambally S, et al. Induced chromosomal proximity and gene fusions in prostate cancer. Science. 2009;326: 1230.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Wrobel GM, Neil E. International Advances in Adoption Research for Practice. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.; 2009.
An edited book
Mezzadra S, Reid J, Samaddar R, editors. The Biopolitics of Development: Reading Michel Foucault in the Postcolonial Present. New Delhi: Springer India; 2013.
A chapter in an edited book
Connor R. The Contribution of Diagnostic Imaging in Rare Gynaecological Malignancies. In: Reed N, Green JA, Gershenson DM, Siddiqui N, Connor R, editors. Rare and Uncommon Gynecological Cancers: A Clinical Guide. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2011. pp. 15–64.

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
Hale T. What’s Actually Inside A “Black Box” Flight Recorder? In: IFLScience [Internet]. IFLScience; 4 Jul 2016 [cited 30 Oct 2018]. Available:


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. Homeland Security: Progress Continues, but Challenges Remain on Department’s Management of Information Technology. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2006 Mar. Report No.: GAO-06-598T.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Baghdadi M. A comparison of gender representation in English (EFL) and Arabic (AFL) textbooks in Iran: A critical discourse analysis. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach. 2012.

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
Barnard A. U.S. Coalition Munition Use Is Scrutinized In Syria. New York Times. 10 Jun 2017: A8.

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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