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
L.V. Polishchuk, Ecology. Conservation priorities for Russian mammals, Science. 297 (2002) 1123.
A journal article with 2 authors
T. Hiiragi, D. Solter, First cleavage plane of the mouse egg is not predetermined but defined by the topology of the two apposing pronuclei, Nature. 430 (2004) 360–364.
A journal article with 3 authors
T.-L. Bo, H. Zhang, X.-J. Zheng, Charge-to-mass ratio of saltating particles in wind-blown sand, Sci. Rep. 4 (2014) 5590.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
V. Pérez-Brocal, R. Gil, S. Ramos, A. Lamelas, M. Postigo, J.M. Michelena, F.J. Silva, A. Moya, A. Latorre, A small microbial genome: the end of a long symbiotic relationship?, Science. 314 (2006) 312–313.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
M.A. Brown, L. Kaplan, The Advanced Practice Registered Nurse as a Prescriber, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., West Sussex, UK, 2012.
An edited book
V. Bach, L. Delle Site, eds., Many-Electron Approaches in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics: A Multidisciplinary View, Springer International Publishing, Cham, 2014.
A chapter in an edited book
B. Demmig-Adams, V. Ebbert, C.R. Zarter, W.W. Adams III, Characteristics and Species-Dependent Employment of Flexible Versus Sustained Thermal Dissipation and Photoinhibition, in: B. Demmig-Adams, W.W. Adams, A.K. Mattoo (Eds.), Photoprotection, Photoinhibition, Gene Regulation, and Environment, Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 2006: pp. 39–48.

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
E. Andrew, Moore’s Law Is 50 Years Old But Will It Continue?, 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, Student Loans: Characteristics of Students and Default Rates at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1998.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
D. Wilkins, The Value of the Semantic Differential to the Art Educator, Doctoral dissertation, George Washington 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. Koblin, The President’s Prime Time, New York Times. (2017) C1.

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