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
Bohannon, J. (2009). The Gonzo Scientist. Gourmet food, served by dogs. Science 323: 1006.
A journal article with 2 authors
McKerracher, L. and Ellezam, B. (2002). Development. Putting the brakes on regeneration. Science 296: 1819–1820.
A journal article with 3 authors
Allen, A.P., Brown, J.H., and Gillooly, J.F. (2002). Global biodiversity, biochemical kinetics, and the energetic-equivalence rule. Science 297: 1545–1548.
A journal article with 13 or more authors
Riehle, M.A., Garczynski, S.F., Crim, J.W., Hill, C.A., and Brown, M.R. (2002). Neuropeptides and peptide hormones in Anopheles gambiae. Science 298: 172–175.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Fu, F. (2015). Advanced Modelling Techniques in Structural Design (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, UK).
An edited book
Altenbach, H. and Eremeyev, V.A. eds (2011). Shell-like Structures: Non-classical Theories and Applications (Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg).
A chapter in an edited book
Akbari, C.M. (2012). Clinical Features and Diagnosis of Peripheral Arterial Disease. In The Diabetic Foot: Medical and Surgical Management, A. Veves, J.M. Giurini, and F.W. LoGerfo, eds (Humana Press: Totowa, NJ), pp. 75–85.

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
Davis, J. (2016). Leopards Have Lost 75 Percent Of Their Historic Range In The Last 250 Years. 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 (1994). GSEs: Implications of Removing State and Local Tax Exemption (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
Stuehling, A.L. (2017). “We Speak ‘Hola’ In School”: A Case Study of Global Education in a Partial-Immersion Spanish Preschool.

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
Kenigsberg, B. (2017). Film Series. New York Times: C24.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Bohannon, 2009).
This sentence cites two references (Bohannon, 2009; McKerracher and Ellezam, 2002).

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

  • Two authors: (McKerracher and Ellezam, 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Riehle et al., 2002)

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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