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
Herrmann M. 2014. Plasma physics: A promising advance in nuclear fusion. Nature 506: 302–303.
A journal article with 2 authors
Cheetham AK, Rao CNR. 2007. Materials science. There’s room in the middle. Science 318: 58–59.
A journal article with 3 authors
Prosser BL, Ward CW, Lederer WJ. 2011. X-ROS signaling: rapid mechano-chemo transduction in heart. Science 333: 1440–1445.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Thomas L, Hayashi M, Jiang X, Moriya R, Rettner C, Parkin S. 2007. Resonant amplification of magnetic domain-wall motion by a train of current pulses. Science 315: 1553–1556.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Stanley W, Pamela B. 2017. The Complete Guide to Fundraising Management. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, New Jersey.
An edited book
Hutter M, Schmidt J-M, eds. 2013. Radio Frequency Identification: Security and Privacy Issues 9th International Workshop, RFIDsec 2013, Graz, Austria, July 9-11, 2013, Revised Selected Papers. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Busquets-Mataix JV, Catalá C, Martí-Campoy A. 2011. Architecture Extensions for Efficient Management of Scratch-Pad Memory. In Integrated Circuit and System Design. Power and Timing Modeling, Optimization, and Simulation: 21st International Workshop, PATMOS 2011, Madrid, Spain, September 26-29, 2011. Proceedings (eds. J.L. Ayala, B. García-Cámara, M. Prieto, M. Ruggiero, and G. Sicard), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp. 43–52, 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 E. 2014. Curiosity Activates Brain To Boost Learning Experience. 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. 1988. Bridge Improvements: States Exercise Discretion in Selecting Projects Using Federal-Aid Funds. 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
Johnson JG. 2012. An Exploration of the Psychosocial Aspects of Weight Among College Students in the College Environment. Doctoral dissertation, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

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
Billard M. 2010. What’s Old And New. New York Times, August 5.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Herrmann 2014).
This sentence cites two references (Herrmann 2014; Cheetham and Rao 2007).

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

  • Two authors: (Cheetham and Rao 2007)
  • Three or more authors: (Thomas et al. 2007)

About the journal

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

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