How to format your references using the Systematic Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Systematic Biology. 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
Triendl R. 2000. Japan’s cloning ban will allow stem cell experiments. Nature. 404:321.
A journal article with 2 authors
Thoennessen M., Sherrill B. 2011. From isotopes to the stars. Nature. 473:25–26.
A journal article with 3 authors
Gawronski H., Mehlhorn M., Morgenstern K. 2008. Imaging phonon excitation with atomic resolution. Science. 319:930–933.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Palmer M.A., Bernhardt E.S., Schlesinger W.H., Eshleman K.N., Foufoula-Georgiou E., Hendryx M.S., Lemly A.D., Likens G.E., Loucks O.L., Power M.E., White P.S., Wilcock P.R. 2010. Science and regulation. Mountaintop mining consequences. Science. 327:148–149.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Jarman K.H. 2015. Beyond Basic Statistics. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Bahadori M.N. 2014. Wind Towers: Architecture, Climate and Sustainability. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Novak J.M., Armstrong D.E., Browne B. 2014. Leading Others. In: Armstrong D.E., Browne B., editors. Leading For Educational Lives: Inviting and Sustaining Imaginative Acts of Hope in a Connected World. Rotterdam: SensePublishers. p. 69–83.

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 Systematic Biology.

Blog post
Andrew D. 2015. 10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Orgasms. Available from


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. 1999. Air Traffic Control: Observations on FAA’s Air Traffic Control Modernization Program. .

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Seevaratnam N. 2019. Forecasting Optimality in Resource Utilization for Cloud Computing Systems to Maximize Quality of Service. .

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
Qiu L. 2017. Trump Tale of Pershing Killing Muslim Captives ‘Has No Basis in Truth.’ New York Times.:A16.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Triendl 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Triendl 2000; Thoennessen and Sherrill 2011).

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

  • Two authors: (Thoennessen and Sherrill 2011)
  • Three or more authors: (Palmer et al. 2010)

About the journal

Full journal titleSystematic Biology
AbbreviationSyst. Biol.
ISSN (print)1063-5157
ISSN (online)1076-836X
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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