How to format your references using the RNA citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for RNA. 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
Smith CH. 2006. Reflections on Wallace. Nature 443: 33–34.
A journal article with 2 authors
Taylor WR, Lin K. 2003. Protein knots: A tangled problem. Nature 421: 25.
A journal article with 3 authors
Zavatta A, Viciani S, Bellini M. 2004. Quantum-to-classical transition with single-photon-added coherent states of light. Science 306: 660–662.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Escobar-Restrepo J-M, Huck N, Kessler S, Gagliardini V, Gheyselinck J, Yang W-C, Grossniklaus U. 2007. The FERONIA receptor-like kinase mediates male-female interactions during pollen tube reception. Science 317: 656–660.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Prydie D, Hewitt I. 2015. Practical Physiotherapy for Small Animal Practice. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Chignell M, Cordy JR, Kealey R, Ng J, Yesha Y, eds. 2013. The Personal Web: A Research Agenda. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Wicaksono B, Nanjegowda RC, Chapman B. 2011. A Dynamic Optimization Framework for OpenMP. In OpenMP in the Petascale Era: 7th International Workshop on OpenMP, IWOMP 2011, Chicago, IL, USA, June 13-15, 2011. Proceedings (eds. B.M. Chapman, W.D. Gropp, K. Kumaran, and M.S. Müller), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp. 54–68, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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 RNA.

Blog post
Andrew D. 2016. Curbing The Marijuana Industry’s Voracious Energy Appetite. IFLScience. (Accessed 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. 1996. IRS Operations: Significant Challenges in Financial Management and Systems Modernization. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Joshi T. 2010. Understanding gold nanoisland formation using transport measurement. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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
Kelly M. 1993. Saint Hillary. New York Times, May 23.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Smith 2006).
This sentence cites two references (Smith 2006; Taylor and Lin 2003).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Taylor and Lin 2003)
  • Three or more authors: (Escobar-Restrepo et al. 2007)

About the journal

Full journal titleRNA
ISSN (print)1335-8382
ISSN (online)1469-9001
ScopeMolecular Biology

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