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
Wilsdon J. We need a measured approach to metrics. Nature 2015; 523: 129.
A journal article with 2 authors
Gao Y, Bando Y. Carbon nanothermometer containing gallium. Nature 2002; 415: 599.
A journal article with 3 authors
Xu X, Su Y, Fan ZH. Cotinine concentration in serum correlates with tobacco smoke-induced emphysema in mice. Sci Rep 2014; 4: 3864.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Wang X, Jiao L, Sheng K, Li C, Dai L, Shi G. Solution-processable graphene nanomeshes with controlled pore structures. Sci Rep 2013; 3: 1996.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bayor RH. Fiorello La Guardia. 2017. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Lazega E, Snijders TAB (eds). Multilevel Network Analysis for the Social Sciences: Theory, Methods and Applications. 2016. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Massey S, Quirk S. Initial Processing. In: Massey S (ed). Deep-Sky Video Astronomy. 2009. Springer, New York, NY, pp 71–81.

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
Carpineti A. Experiment Fails To Find Dark Matter After 20 Months Of Searching. 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. Federal Aviation Administration’s Acquisition of the Advanced Automation System. 1987. 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
Liang C-C. Fate of bacterial and viral indicators in an advanced wastewater treatment plant. 2013. 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
Shpigel B. Their Nemesis on the Ropes, the Jets Fail to Land a Knockout. New York Times . 2017. , D2

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

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