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
Wentrup C. Radical chemistry. From reactive intermediates to stable compounds. Science. 2002 Mar 8;295(5561):1846–7.
A journal article with 2 authors
Bishopp A, Bennett MJ. Plant biology: Seeing the wood and the trees. Nature. 2015 Jan 29;517(7536):558–9.
A journal article with 3 authors
Rai A, Menon AV, Jalan S. Randomness and preserved patterns in cancer network. Sci Rep. 2014 Sep 15;4:6368.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Xie W-J, Li M-X, Jiang Z-Q, Zhou W-X. Triadic motifs in the dependence networks of virtual societies. Sci Rep. 2014 Jun 10;4:5244.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Heimann RB, Lehmann HD. Bioceramic Coatings for Medical Implants. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA; 2015.
An edited book
Brun R, editor. High Temperature Phenomena in Shock Waves. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2012. IX, 337 p. (Shock Wave Science and Technology Reference Library; vol. 7).
A chapter in an edited book
Libal KR, Harding S. Community Practice, Fostering Participation, and Human Rights. In: Harding S, editor. Human Rights-Based Community Practice in the United States. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2015. p. 79–83. (SpringerBriefs in Rights-Based Approaches to Social Work).

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
Andrews R. Ancient Pottery Reveals Mysterious Invasion Of Prehistoric Britain [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. Federal Communications Commission: MDS and ITFS Two-Way Transmissions. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1998 Dec. Report No.: OGC-99-23.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Muehlhauser C. Perceived Criticism, Self-Criticism, and Disordered Eating Patterns in College Students [Doctoral dissertation]. [Edwardsville, IL]: Southern Illinois 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
George N. Invisibly Black. New York Times. 2017 Jan 13;BR14.

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