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
Smaglik P. 2005. Generous advice. Nature 435: 241.
A journal article with 2 authors
Chhowalla M, Amaratunga GA. 2000. Thin films of fullerene-like MoS2 nanoparticles with ultra-low friction and wear. Nature 407: 164–167.
A journal article with 3 authors
Kareiva P, Chang A, Marvier M. 2008. Environmental economics. Development and conservation goals in World Bank projects. Science 321: 1638–1639.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Martínez-Galera AJ, Brihuega I, Gutiérrez-Rubio A, Stauber T, Gómez-Rodríguez JM. 2014. Towards scalable nano-engineering of graphene. Sci Rep 4: 7314.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Kazemi GA, Lehr JH, Perrochet P. 2006. Groundwater Age. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Schneider DT, Brecht IB, Olson TA, Ferrari A, eds. 2012. Rare Tumors In Children and Adolescents. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Chan AWH, Quaglia A, Haugk B, Burt A. 2014. Metabolic Liver Disease. In Atlas of Liver Pathology (eds. A. Quaglia, B. Haugk, and A. Burt), pp. 49–70, Springer, New York, NY.

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. 2015. Good Luck G7 Leaders – We Won’t Be Off Fossil Fuels By 2100. 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. 2016. Polar Weather Satellites: NOAA Is Working to Ensure Continuity but Needs to Quickly Address Information Security Weaknesses and Future Program Uncertainties. 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
Vu MK. 2015. Reducing mental health provider burnout through wellness: A grant proposal. 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
Harwood J. 2017. Why Trumpism May Not Endure. New York Times, January 21.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Smaglik 2005).
This sentence cites two references (Smaglik 2005; Chhowalla and Amaratunga 2000).

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

  • Two authors: (Chhowalla and Amaratunga 2000)
  • Three or more authors: (Martínez-Galera et al. 2014)

About the journal

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

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