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
Smaglik P. 2004 Mental barriers. Nature 429, 785.
A journal article with 2 authors
Geissler PW, Okwaro F. 2014 Developing world: Discuss inequality. Nature 513, 303.
A journal article with 3 authors
Mlynarski SN, Schuster CH, Morken JP. 2014 Asymmetric synthesis from terminal alkenes by cascades of diboration and cross-coupling. Nature 505, 386–390.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Tauriello DVF et al. 2018 TGFβ drives immune evasion in genetically reconstituted colon cancer metastasis. Nature 554, 538–543.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Zhang B, Wang X. 2014 Chaos Analysis and Chaotic EMI Suppression of DC-DC Converters. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd.
An edited book
France RB, Kuester JM, Bordbar B, Paige RF, editors. 2011 Modelling Foundations and Applications: 7th European Conference, ECMFA 2011, Birmingham, UK, June 6 - 9, 2011 Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Snoeyink J. 2011 Degree-Driven Design for Correct Geometric Algorithms. In Frontiers in Algorithmics and Algorithmic Aspects in Information and Management: Joint International Conference, FAW-AAIM 2011, Jinhua, China, May 28-31, 2011. Proceedings (eds M Atallah, X-Y Li, B Zhu), pp. 8–9. 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
Andrew E. 2014 Mars Coming Into Opposition. 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. 2007 DOD Schools: Additional Reporting Could Improve Accountability for Academic Achievement of Students with Dyslexia.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Angell BD. 2017 Transformational Innovation and Transformational Leadership in the U.S. Government Department of Defense Acquisitions Workforce. 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
Mueller B, McKINLEY JC Jr. 2015 Connecticut Death Penalty Law Is Unconstitutional, Top State Court Says. New York Times, 14 August. , A20.

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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