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
Walton KS. Inorganic chemistry: Movies of a growth mechanism. Nature 2015; 523: 535–536.
A journal article with 2 authors
Trinkle-Mulcahy L, Lamond AI. Toward a high-resolution view of nuclear dynamics. Science 2007; 318: 1402–1407.
A journal article with 3 authors
Barbot S, Lapusta N, Avouac J-P. Under the hood of the earthquake machine: toward predictive modeling of the seismic cycle. Science 2012; 336: 707–710.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Haubensak W, Kunwar PS, Cai H, Ciocchi S, Wall NR, Ponnusamy R, et al. Genetic dissection of an amygdala microcircuit that gates conditioned fear. Nature 2010; 468: 270–276.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Dewe PJ, O’Driscoll MP, Cooper CL. Coping with Work Stress. 2010. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Chemla K, Virbel J (eds). Texts, Textual Acts and the History of Science. 2015. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Luca L, Stephen B, Pierpaolo D. Information Foraging Theory as a Form of Collective Intelligence for Social Search. In: Nguyen NT, Kowalczyk R, Chen S-M (eds). Computational Collective Intelligence. Semantic Web, Social Networks and Multiagent Systems: First International Conference, ICCCI 2009, Wrocław, Poland, October 5-7, 2009. Proceedings. 2009. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 63–74.

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
Andrew E. Mental Health Is A Global Issue – Here’s How Neuroscience Can Cross International Boundaries. 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. Aviation Safety: New Regulations for Deicing Aircraft Could Be Strengthened. 1992. 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
Gilbert SA. Succession Planning Relating to the Millennial Generation in Private Four-Year Universities. 2017. Doctoral dissertation, Pepperdine 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
Oestreich JR. Getting Inside the Mind of Bach. New York Times . 2017. , C6

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