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
T.M. Pollock, Materials science. Weight loss with magnesium alloys, Science. 328 (2010) 986–987.
A journal article with 2 authors
C. Peng, F. Gao, Protein localization analysis of essential genes in prokaryotes, Sci. Rep. 4 (2014) 6001.
A journal article with 3 authors
I. Chen, P.J. Christie, D. Dubnau, The ins and outs of DNA transfer in bacteria, Science. 310 (2005) 1456–1460.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
K. Nagao, R. Okazaki, T. Nakamura, Y.N. Miura, T. Osawa, K.-I. Bajo, S. Matsuda, M. Ebihara, T.R. Ireland, F. Kitajima, H. Naraoka, T. Noguchi, A. Tsuchiyama, H. Yurimoto, M.E. Zolensky, M. Uesugi, K. Shirai, M. Abe, T. Yada, Y. Ishibashi, A. Fujimura, T. Mukai, M. Ueno, T. Okada, M. Yoshikawa, J. Kawaguchi, Irradiation history of Itokawa regolith material deduced from noble gases in the Hayabusa samples, Science. 333 (2011) 1128–1131.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
A. Morgan, Eating the Big Fish, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2009.
An edited book
Y. Nakasato, R.L. Yung, eds., Geriatric Rheumatology: A Comprehensive Approach, Springer, New York, NY, 2011.
A chapter in an edited book
K. Lim, M. Milosevic, K. Brock, A. Fyles, Image-Guidance in External Beam Planning for Locally Advanced Cervical Cancer, in: A.N. Viswanathan, C. Kirisits, B.E. Erickson, R. Pötter (Eds.), Gynecologic Radiation Therapy: Novel Approaches to Image-Guidance and Management, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2011: pp. 51–60.

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
J. Davis, Scientists Identify Genetic Difference Between Early Risers And Late Sleepers, IFLScience. (2015).


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, Federal Research: Aging Federal Laboratories Need Repairs and Upgrades, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1993.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
K. Shellhouse, The Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary Deposit in LaSalle Parish, Louisiana, Doctoral dissertation, University of Louisiana, 2017.

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
Sophia Collier; Sophia Collier is the president of the American Natural Beverage Corporation, STREET SMARTS, New York Times. (1988) 674.

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