How to format your references using the Scientific Reports citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Scientific Reports. 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
Nisbet, E. Earth monitoring: Cinderella science. Nature 450, 789–790 (2007).
A journal article with 2 authors
Turecek, R. & Trussell, L. O. Presynaptic glycine receptors enhance transmitter release at a mammalian central synapse. Nature 411, 587–590 (2001).
A journal article with 3 authors
Kuba, H., Oichi, Y. & Ohmori, H. Presynaptic activity regulates Na(+) channel distribution at the axon initial segment. Nature 465, 1075–1078 (2010).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Saito, T., Owen, D. M., Jiang, F., Marcotrigiano, J. & Gale, M., Jr. Innate immunity induced by composition-dependent RIG-I recognition of hepatitis C virus RNA. Nature 454, 523–527 (2008).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Cavalla, D. Off-label prescribing - Justifying unapproved medicine. (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2015).
An edited book
Perspectives in Analysis: Essays in Honor of Lennart Carleson’s 75th Birthday. vol. 27 (Springer, 2005).
A chapter in an edited book
Corrin, L., Bennett, S. & Lockyer, L. Digital Natives: Exploring the Diversity of Young People’s Experience with Technology. in Reshaping Learning: Frontiers of Learning Technology in a Global Context (eds. Huang, R., Kinshuk & Spector, J. M.) 113–138 (Springer, 2013).

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 Reports.

Blog post
Hamilton, K. What Will The World Actually Look Like At 1.5°C Of Warming? IFLScience (2016).


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. Problems in the Federal Funding of School Bus Driver Training Programs. (1977).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Eldridge, R. L. A Comparative Quantitative Study of Private College Audit Fee Behavior in a Highly Regulated Environment. (Northcentral University, 2012).

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
Pilon, M. Forging Path to Starting Line For Younger Disabled Athletes. New York Times A1 (2013).

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in superscript:

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 Reports
AbbreviationSci. Rep.
ISSN (online)2045-2322

Other styles