How to format your references using the South African Journal of Botany citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for South African Journal of Botany. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
Fenton, N., 2011. Science and law: Improve statistics in court. Nature 479, 36–37.
A journal article with 2 authors
McCormick, C., Ganem, D., 2005. The kaposin B protein of KSHV activates the p38/MK2 pathway and stabilizes cytokine mRNAs. Science 307, 739–741.
A journal article with 3 authors
Wara, M.W., Ravelo, A.C., Delaney, M.L., 2005. Permanent El Niño-like conditions during the Pliocene warm period. Science 309, 758–761.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
van Zoest, T., Gaaloul, N., Singh, Y., Ahlers, H., Herr, W., Seidel, S.T., Ertmer, W., Rasel, E., Eckart, M., Kajari, E., Arnold, S., Nandi, G., Schleich, W.P., Walser, R., Vogel, A., Sengstock, K., Bongs, K., Lewoczko-Adamczyk, W., Schiemangk, M., Schuldt, T., Peters, A., Könemann, T., Müntinga, H., Lämmerzahl, C., Dittus, H., Steinmetz, T., Hänsch, T.W., Reichel, J., 2010. Bose-Einstein condensation in microgravity. Science 328, 1540–1543.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Islam, M.R., Speight, J.G., 2016. Peak Energy: Myth or Reality? John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Saha, V., Kearns, P. (Eds.), 2011. New Agents for the Treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Springer, New York, NY.
A chapter in an edited book
Kibbe, M.R., 2015. Leadership Theories and Styles, in: Kibbe, M.R., Chen, H. (Eds.), Leadership in Surgery, Success in Academic Surgery. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 49–57.

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 South African Journal of Botany.

Blog post
Andrews, R., 2017. We Finally Know What Cats’ Facial Expressions Mean [WWW Document]. IFLScience. URL (accessed 10.30.18).


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, 1992. Composite Health Care System: Outpatient Capability Is Nearly Ready for Worldwide Deployment (No. IMTEC-93-11). U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Schloesser, K., 2010. Improving services for persons with developmental disabilities through the utilization of person-centered thinking: A grant-writing project (Doctoral dissertation). California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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
St. John Kelly, E., 1997. NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: MARINE PARK -- UPDATE ; Mariners Are Still Riding High. New York Times 1410.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Fenton, 2011).
This sentence cites two references (Fenton, 2011; McCormick and Ganem, 2005).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (McCormick and Ganem, 2005)
  • Three or more authors: (van Zoest et al., 2010)

About the journal

Full journal titleSouth African Journal of Botany
AbbreviationS. Afr. J. Bot.
ISSN (print)0254-6299
ScopePlant Science

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