How to format your references using the Royal Society Open Science citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Royal Society Open 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
French C. 2010 Archaeology. People, societies, and landscapes. Science 328, 443–444.
A journal article with 2 authors
Hauert C, Doebeli M. 2004 Spatial structure often inhibits the evolution of cooperation in the snowdrift game. Nature 428, 643–646.
A journal article with 3 authors
Kaner RB, Gilman JJ, Tolbert SH. 2005 Materials science. Designing superhard materials. Science 308, 1268–1269.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Yamashita A et al. 2013 Cartilage tissue engineering identifies abnormal human induced pluripotent stem cells. Sci. Rep. 3, 1978.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
O’Kelly M, Ratitch B. 2014 Clinical Trials with Missing Data. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Chowdhury MSH, editor. 2014 Forest conservation in protected areas of Bangladesh: Policy and community development perspectives. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Cheli F, Mapelli F, Viganò R, Tarsitano D. 2010 Start. In Advanced Microsystems for Automotive Applications 2010: Smart Systems for Green Cars and Safe Mobility (eds G Meyer, J Valldorf), pp. 39–49. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

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 Royal Society Open Science.

Blog post
Andrews R. 2017 This 110-Million-Year-Old Armored Dinosaur Was Turned To Stone By A Geological Medusa. IFLScience. See (accessed on 30 October 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. 2000 Aviation Infrastructure: Feasibility of Using Alternate Means to Satisfy Requirements of Alaska National Airspace System Interfacility Communications System (ANICS) Phase II.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Chung Y-K. 2010 A comparison of particle swarm optimization algorithms in data clustering. 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
Baker L. 2007 A Canadian Condo Boom. New York Times, 21 October. , 1111.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

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 titleRoyal Society Open Science
AbbreviationR. Soc. Open Sci.
ISSN (online)2054-5703

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