How to format your references using the Scientific African citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Scientific African. 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
P. Boyer, Being human: Religion: bound to believe?, Nature. 455 (2008) 1038–1039.
A journal article with 2 authors
J. Ollerton, E. Coulthard, Paleontology. Evolution of animal pollination, Science. 326 (2009) 808–809.
A journal article with 3 authors
S.W. Lowe, E. Cepero, G. Evan, Intrinsic tumour suppression, Nature. 432 (2004) 307–315.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
K.-I. Kubo, T. Entani, A. Takara, N. Wang, A.M. Fields, Z. Hua, M. Toyoda, S.-I. Kawashima, T. Ando, A. Isogai, T.-H. Kao, S. Takayama, Collaborative non-self recognition system in S-RNase-based self-incompatibility, Science. 330 (2010) 796–799.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
N. Recho, Fracture Mechanics and Crack Growth, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2012.
An edited book
H. Kitagawa, Y. Ishikawa, Q. Li, C. Watanabe, eds., Database Systems for Advanced Applications: 15th International Conference, DASFAA 2010, Tsukuba, Japan, April 1-4, 2010, Proceedings, Part I, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2010.
A chapter in an edited book
K.-H. Deeg, Doppler Sonography of the Abdominal Vessels, in: T. Rupprecht, M. Hofbeck (Eds.), Doppler Sonography in Infancy and Childhood, Springer International Publishing, Cham, 2015: pp. 273–309.

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 Scientific African.

Blog post
S. Luntz, Climatologist Says Arctic Carbon Release Could Mean “We’re Fucked,” IFLScience. (2014).“were-fucked”/ (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, Process Used by Department of Education To Award Contracts for Operation of Indian Education Resource and Evaluation Centers, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1981.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
C. Albers, One Academic Year Study of Experiences of One Cohort of Graduates from a Midwestern University’s Teacher Education Program, Doctoral dissertation, Lindenwood University, 2015.

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
J. Branch, Turning His Back on Football, New York Times. (2017) B9.

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 titleScientific African
ISSN (print)2468-2276

Other styles