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
Bourzac, K. (2015). Therapy: An immune one-two punch. Nature 528: S134-6.
A journal article with 2 authors
Heyward, A.J. and Negri, A.P. (2012). Turbulence, cleavage, and the naked embryo: a case for coral clones. Science 335: 1064.
A journal article with 3 authors
Borsa, A.A., Agnew, D.C., and Cayan, D.R. (2014). Remote Hydrology. Ongoing drought-induced uplift in the western United States. Science 345: 1587–1590.
A journal article with 13 or more authors
Zhang, Z., Liu, C.T., Miller, M.K., Wang, X.-L., Wen, Y., Fujita, T., Hirata, A., Chen, M., Chen, G., and Chin, B.A. (2013). A nanoscale co-precipitation approach for property enhancement of Fe-base alloys. Sci. Rep. 3: 1327.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Gilmore, R. and Lefranc, M. (2011). The Topology of Chaos (Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA: Weinheim, Germany).
An edited book
Maneth, S. ed (2015). Data Science: 30th British International Conference on Databases, BICOD 2015, Edinburgh, UK, July 6-8, 2015, Proceedings (Springer International Publishing: Cham).
A chapter in an edited book
Homnick, D.N. (2012). Dyspnea. In Functional Respiratory Disorders: When Respiratory Symptoms Do Not Respond to Pulmonary Treatment, R.D. Anbar, ed (Humana Press: Totowa, NJ), pp. 67–87.

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
Andrew, E. (2015). Great White Sharks Exploit The Angle Of The Sun While Hunting. 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 (2016). Aviation Security: Airport Perimeter and Access Control Security Would Benefit from Risk Assessment and Strategy Updates (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
Allen, H.T. (2013). The Songs of Lori Laitman: An Analysis of Sunflowers and Early Snow.

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
Kanter, J. (2017). ‘Stupid Us’: U.S. Retirees and Fraud Tied to E.U. Commissioner. New York Times: A5.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Bourzac, 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Bourzac, 2015; Heyward and Negri, 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Heyward and Negri, 2012)
  • Three or more authors: (Zhang et al., 2013)

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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