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
Goldston, D. (2008). Getting it across. Nature 454: 16.
A journal article with 2 authors
Chakraborty, A. and Bandyopadhyay, S. (2013). FOGSAA: Fast Optimal Global Sequence Alignment Algorithm. Sci. Rep. 3: 1746.
A journal article with 3 authors
Bruskotter, J.T., Enzler, S.A., and Treves, A. (2011). Science and law. Rescuing wolves from politics: wildlife as a public trust resource. Science 333: 1828–1829.
A journal article with 13 or more authors
Courcelle, J., Donaldson, J.R., Chow, K.-H., and Courcelle, C.T. (2003). DNA damage-induced replication fork regression and processing in Escherichia coli. Science 299: 1064–1067.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Waupsh, J. (2016). Bankruption (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ).
An edited book
Chen, Y.-S., Rau, D.-H.V., and Rau, G. eds (2016). Email Discourse Among Chinese Using English as a Lingua Franca (Springer: Singapore).
A chapter in an edited book
Dicuangco-Valdez, L., Moree, P., and Solé, P. (2014). On the Existence of Hermitian Self-Dual Extended Abelian Group Codes. In Automorphic Forms: Research in Number Theory from Oman, B. Heim, M. Al-Baali, T. Ibukiyama, and F. Rupp, eds, Springer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics. (Springer International Publishing: Cham), pp. 67–84.

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
Hale, T. (2017). Colorful Murals Cover A 1,000-Year-Old Chinese Tomb. 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 (2002). District of Columbia: Planned Funding and Schedule for D.C. Public Schools’ Modernization Program Are Unrealistic (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
Talice, K.W. (2017). An Assessment of Veterans Affairs Healthcare Leadership Competencies.

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
Qiu, L. (2017). Dubious Defense for Voting Against Storm Relief in 2013. New York Times: A15.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Goldston, 2008).
This sentence cites two references (Goldston, 2008; Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Chakraborty and Bandyopadhyay, 2013)
  • Three or more authors: (Courcelle et al., 2003)

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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