How to format your references using the Synthesis citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Synthesis. 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
Smaglik, P. Nature 2003, 422, 353.
A journal article with 2 authors
Riddihough, G.; Zahn, L. M. Science 2010, 330, 611.
A journal article with 3 authors
Puntes, V. F.; Krishnan, K. M.; Alivisatos, A. P. Science 2001, 291, 2115.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Gu, M.; Xiao, X.-C.; Liu, G.; Thevuthasan, S.; Baer, D. R.; Zhang, J.-G.; Liu, J.; Browning, N. D.; Wang, C.-M. Sci. Rep. 2014, 4, 3684.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Barker, R. M.; Puckett, J. A. Design of Highway Bridges; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2013.
An edited book
Cardiac Tumor Pathology; Basso, C.; Valente, M.; Thiene, G., Eds.; Current Clinical Pathology; Humana Press: Totowa, NJ, 2013.
A chapter in an edited book
Feldmann, P. R. In Driving the Economy through Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Emerging Agenda for Technology Management; Mukhopadhyay, C.; Akhilesh, K. B.; Srinivasan, R.; Gurtoo, A.; Ramachandran, P.; Iyer, P. P.; Mathirajan, M.; Bala Subrahmanya, M. H., Eds.; Springer India: New Delhi, 2013; 37.

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 Synthesis.

Blog post
O`Callaghan, J. Astronomers Asked To Observe “Alien Megastructure Star” In More Detail (accessed Oct 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 Highway Research: DOT’s Actions to Implement Best Practices for Setting Research Agendas and Evaluating Outcomes; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2003.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Boerger, E. M. Natural regeneration dynamics of red oak seedlings in Mississippi bottomland forests. Doctoral dissertation, Mississippi State University: Mississippi State, MS, 2014.

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
Kelly, D. New York Times 2000, 711.

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 titleSynthesis
ISSN (print)0039-7881
ISSN (online)1437-210X

Other styles