How to format your references using the The ISME Journal citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for The ISME Journal. 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
Macilwain C. World view: Wild goose chase. Nature 2010; 463: 291.
A journal article with 2 authors
Liao L, Cao Z. Directional scaling symmetry of high-symmetry two-dimensional lattices. Sci Rep 2014; 4: 6193.
A journal article with 3 authors
Santos NC, Benz W, Mayor M. Extrasolar planets: constraints for planet formation models. Science 2005; 310: 251–255.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Kodama K, Takigawa M, Horvatić M, Berthier C, Kageyama H, Ueda Y, et al. Magnetic superstructure in the two-dimensional quantum antiferromagnet SrCu2(BO3)2. Science 2002; 298: 395–399.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bernstein L, Yuhas CM. Trustworthy Systems through Quantitative Software Engineering. 2005. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Pritchard RMO, Klumpp M, Teichler U (eds). Diversity and Excellence in Higher Education: Can the Challenges be Reconciled? 2015. SensePublishers, Rotterdam.
A chapter in an edited book
Day C, Harris B. Understanding and Planning Emotions Research. In: Zembylas M, Schutz PA (eds). Methodological Advances in Research on Emotion and Education. 2016. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 55–67.

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 The ISME Journal.

Blog post
Davis J. Byzantine Skeleton Contains 800-Year-Old DNA From The Infection That Killed Her. 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. The Manager, the Government, and the Accounting Profession. 1968. 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
Zaghdoun E. Entre lettres et portraits: Madame Du Deffand, auteur? 2009. Doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park.

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
Higgins A. $24 Million Insurance Paid on Stolen Art. New York Times . 2013. , A11

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

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 titleThe ISME Journal
AbbreviationISME J.
ISSN (print)1751-7362
ISSN (online)1751-7370
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Other styles