How to format your references using the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). 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
J. Adkins, Paleoclimate. Dating--vive la différence. Science 294, 1844–1845 (2001).
A journal article with 2 authors
L. V. Wang, S. Hu, Photoacoustic tomography: in vivo imaging from organelles to organs. Science 335, 1458–1462 (2012).
A journal article with 3 authors
S. Mulepati, A. Héroux, S. Bailey, Structural biology. Crystal structure of a CRISPR RNA-guided surveillance complex bound to a ssDNA target. Science 345, 1479–1484 (2014).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
H. Ma, et al., An impedance-based integrated biosensor for suspended DNA characterization. Sci. Rep. 3, 2730 (2013).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
D. B. Fogel, D. Liu, J. M. Keller, Fundamentals of Computational Intelligence (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2016).
An edited book
D. M. Whitacre, Ed., Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, Volume 227 (Springer International Publishing, 2014).
A chapter in an edited book
D. N. Homnick, “Dyspnea” in Functional Respiratory Disorders: When Respiratory Symptoms Do Not Respond to Pulmonary Treatment, R. D. Anbar, Ed. (Humana Press, 2012), pp. 67–87.

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 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Blog post
E. Andrew, New System Lets Humans Control Mouse Genes With Their Thoughts. IFLScience (2014) (October 30, 2018).


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, “Rail Safety: The Federal Railroad Administration Is Better Targeting Safety Risks, but Needs to Assess Results to Determine the Impact of Its Efforts” (U.S. Government Printing Office, 2007).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
D. M. Gatti, “Genome-wide analysis of transcriptional regulation in the murine liver,”  University of North Carolina,  Chapel Hill, NC. (2010).

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
G. Vecsey, Wisely Stepping Aside In a Bombarded City. New York Times, D3 (2012).

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in parentheses:

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 titleProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
AbbreviationProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A.
ISSN (print)0027-8424
ISSN (online)1091-6490

Other styles