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
Bourzac K. 2015. Collaborations: Mining the motherlodes. Nature 527: S8-9.
A journal article with 2 authors
He S, MacLeod DI. 2001. Orientation-selective adaptation and tilt after-effect from invisible patterns. Nature 411: 473–476.
A journal article with 3 authors
Dixson DL, Abrego D, Hay ME. 2014. Reef ecology. Chemically mediated behavior of recruiting corals and fishes: a tipping point that may limit reef recovery. Science 345: 892–897.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Pokholok DK, Zeitlinger J, Hannett NM, Reynolds DB, Young RA. 2006. Activated signal transduction kinases frequently occupy target genes. Science 313: 533–536.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Chin WC. 2016. Resistivity Modeling. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Mao J, Bierlein FP, eds. 2005. Mineral Deposit Research: Meeting the Global Challenge: Proceedings of the Eighth Biennial SGA Meeting Beijing, China, 18–21 August 2005. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Dedysh SN, Kulichevskaya IS. 2013. Acidophilic Planctomycetes: Expanding the Horizons of New Planctomycete Diversity. In Planctomycetes: Cell Structure, Origins and Biology (ed. J.A. Fuerst), pp. 125–139, Humana Press, Totowa, NJ.

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
O`Callaghan J. 2016. SpaceX Has Delayed Its First Manned Launch To 2018. IFLScience.


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. 1991. Air Force Stock Fund: Hydrazine Sales Consistent with the Commercial Space Launch Act. 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
Belcher JT. 2009. Optimism, psychological well-being, and quality of life in females with Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Doctoral dissertation, Capella University, Minneapolis, MN.

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
Miller J. 2016. The Modern’s Progress. New York Times, August 28.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Bourzac 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Bourzac 2015; He and MacLeod 2001).

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

  • Two authors: (He and MacLeod 2001)
  • Three or more authors: (Pokholok et al. 2006)

About the journal

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

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