How to format your references using the Progress in Natural Science citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Progress in Natural Science. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
Hartzell HC. Cell biology. The stress of relaxation. Science. 2007 Sep 7;317(5843):1331–2.
A journal article with 2 authors
Heldin CH, Ericsson J. Signal transduction. RIPping tyrosine kinase receptors apart. Science. 2001 Dec 7;294(5549):2111–3.
A journal article with 3 authors
Fuerstman MJ, Garstecki P, Whitesides GM. Coding/decoding and reversibility of droplet trains in microfluidic networks. Science. 2007 Feb 9;315(5813):828–32.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Xiang X, Shi Y, Yang J, Kong J, Lin X, Zhang H, et al. Rapid recovery of soil bacterial communities after wildfire in a Chinese boreal forest. Sci Rep. 2014 Jan 23;4:3829.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Radcliff PB. Modern Spain. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2017.
An edited book
Grady M. The Shawshank Experience: Tracking the History of the World’s Favorite Movie. Magistrale T, editor. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan US; 2016. X, 235 p. 15 illus. in color.
A chapter in an edited book
Sinha CK, Syed SHS, Hinds R. Parenteral Nutrition. In: Sinha CK, Davenport M, editors. Handbook of Pediatric Surgery. London: Springer; 2010. p. 29–34.

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 Progress in Natural Science.

Blog post
Luntz S. The First Life Forms Might Not Have Needed Phosphate [Internet]. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2017 [cited 2018 Oct 30]. Available from:


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. Biotechnology: Delays in and Status of EPA’s Efforts to Issue a TSCA Regulation. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1992 Jun. Report No.: RCED-92-167.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Watson CA. A cultural confluence: Approaches to embedding cultural insights and inclusion throughout the marketing process [Doctoral dissertation]. [Malibu, CA]: Pepperdine University; 2014.

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
Pilon M. Middle Schools Add Team Rule: Get a Drug Test. New York Times. 2012 Sep 23;A1.

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 titleProgress in Natural Science
ISSN (print)1002-0071

Other styles