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
Chase JM. Stochastic community assembly causes higher biodiversity in more productive environments. Science. 2010 Jun 11;328(5984):1388–91.
A journal article with 2 authors
Yin Y, Alivisatos AP. Colloidal nanocrystal synthesis and the organic-inorganic interface. Nature. 2005 Sep 29;437(7059):664–70.
A journal article with 3 authors
Anderson PW, Brinkman WF, Huse DA. Thermodynamics of an incommensurate quantum crystal. Science. 2005 Nov 18;310(5751):1164–6.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Wu Y, Xiang J, Yang C, Lu W, Lieber CM. Single-crystal metallic nanowires and metal/semiconductor nanowire heterostructures. Nature. 2004 Jul 1;430(6995):61–5.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Kagan E, Ben-Gal I. Probabilistic Search for Tracking Targets. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2013.
An edited book
O’Campo P, Dunn JR, editors. Rethinking Social Epidemiology: Towards a Science of Change. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2012. X, 350 p.
A chapter in an edited book
Robinson B. The Welfare and Education of Left-Behind Children in Western China. In: Lee JCK, Yu Z, Huang X, Law EHF, editors. Educational Development in Western China: Towards Quality and Equity. Rotterdam: SensePublishers; 2016. p. 97–119.

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
Davis J. IFLScience. IFLScience; 2016. For Male Chimpanzees, It Pays To Have Friends In High Places.


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. Organizational Structure and Information Systems Used To Manage the Army’s Depot-Level Maintenance Programs. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1977 Sep. Report No.: 103401.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Keith A. Engagement and Temporary Teams: Considerations for Value Engineering Study Teams and Facilitators [Doctoral dissertation]. [Malibu, CA]: Pepperdine 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
Branch J, Weiser B. Ex-Player Charged in Sale of Pills to Boogaard. New York Times. 2014 Sep 10;B9.

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