How to format your references using the The Plant Cell citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for The Plant Cell. 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
Hughson, F.M. (2013). Neuroscience. Chaperones that SNARE neurotransmitter release. Science 339: 406–407.
A journal article with 2 authors
Carlip, S. and Vaidya, S. (2003). Cosmology: Do black holes constrain varying constants? Nature 421: 498.
A journal article with 3 authors
Saito, C., Shinzawa, K., and Tsujimoto, Y. (2014). Synchronized necrotic death of attached hepatocytes mediated via gap junctions. Sci. Rep. 4: 5169.
A journal article with 13 or more authors
Ryu, D., Kang, H., Cho, J., and Das, S. (2008). Turbulence and magnetic fields in the large-scale structure of the universe. Science 320: 909–912.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Grous, A. (2011). Applied Metrology for Manufacturing Engineering (John Wiley & Sons, Inc: Hoboken, NJ).
An edited book
Winter, H. (2007). Slow Heavy-Particle Induced Electron Emission from Solid Surfaces J. Burgdörfer, ed (Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg).
A chapter in an edited book
Hollingsworth, K.G. and Weber, M.-A. (2013). Advanced and Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging Techniques. In Neuromuscular Imaging, M.P. Wattjes and D. Fischer, eds (Springer: New York, NY), pp. 35–53.

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 Plant Cell.

Blog post
Carpineti, A. (2017). NASA Solves The Andromeda X-Ray Mystery. IFLScience.


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 (1985). The Department of Education’s Actions To Collect Defaulted Student Loans (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
Boukes, J. (2012). An exploration of online spam prevention through geolocational filters.

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
Greenhouse, L. (2014). Crack Cocaine Limbo. New York Times: A19.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Hughson, 2013).
This sentence cites two references (Hughson, 2013; Carlip and Vaidya, 2003).

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

  • Two authors: (Carlip and Vaidya, 2003)
  • Three or more authors: (Ryu et al., 2008)

About the journal

Full journal titleThe Plant Cell
AbbreviationPlant Cell
ISSN (print)1040-4651
ISSN (online)1531-298X
ScopePlant Science
Cell Biology

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