How to format your references using the Systems and Synthetic Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Systems and Synthetic 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.
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
Kreeger K (2003) From bench to bedside. Nature 424:1090–1091
A journal article with 2 authors
Kramer T, Wilson A (2003) Making the move from physics to finance. Nature 425:220–221
A journal article with 3 authors
Nobes C, Lloyd A, Marsh M (2015) RETROSPECTIVE. Alan Hall (1952-2015). Science 350:1039
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Hosten O, Rakher MT, Barreiro JT, et al (2006) Counterfactual quantum computation through quantum interrogation. Nature 439:949–952

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Sattler K (2005) Thermische Trennverfahren. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, FRG
An edited book
Zain JM, Wan Mohd WM bt, El-Qawasmeh E (eds) (2011) Software Engineering and Computer Systems: Second International Conference, ICSECS 2011, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia, June 27-29, 2011, Proceedings, Part II. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
A chapter in an edited book
Chang D, Yung M, Sung J, et al (2007) Preimage Attack on the Parallel FFT-Hashing Function. In: Pieprzyk J, Ghodosi H, Dawson E (eds) Information Security and Privacy: 12th Australasian Conference, ACISP 2007, Townsville, Australia, July 2-4, 2007. Proceedings. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 59–67

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 Systems and Synthetic Biology.

Blog post
Hale T (2015) A Historic NASA Lunar Rover Was Sold For Scrap In Alabama. In: IFLScience. Accessed 30 Oct 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 (1994) Air Force Bombers: Conventional Capabilities of the B-1B Bomber. 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
Adams AA (2009) A study of the attitudes and opinions of southwest Missouri educators regarding the value and outcome of the performance based teacher evaluation process. Doctoral dissertation, Lindenwood University

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
Steel E (2017) On the Cusp Of a Capstone. New York Times B1

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Kreeger 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Kreeger 2003; Kramer and Wilson 2003).

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

  • Two authors: (Kramer and Wilson 2003)
  • Three or more authors: (Hosten et al. 2006)

About the journal

Full journal titleSystems and Synthetic Biology
AbbreviationSyst. Synth. Biol.
ISSN (print)1872-5325
ISSN (online)1872-5333
Molecular Biology

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