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
Sarewitz, D. (2010). World view: Curing climate backlash. Nature 464: 28.
A journal article with 2 authors
Salzman, H. and Lowell, L. (2008). Making the grade. Nature 453: 28–30.
A journal article with 3 authors
Tritsch, N.X., Ding, J.B., and Sabatini, B.L. (2012). Dopaminergic neurons inhibit striatal output through non-canonical release of GABA. Nature 490: 262–266.
A journal article with 13 or more authors
Vion, D., Aassime, A., Cottet, A., Joyez, P., Pothier, H., Urbina, C., Esteve, D., and Devoret, M.H. (2002). Manipulating the quantum state of an electrical circuit. Science 296: 886–889.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Horváth, T. (2006). Understanding Lightning and Lightning Protection (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, England).
An edited book
Schomburg, D., Schomburg, I., and Chang, A. eds (2010). Class 4–6 Lyases, Isomerases, Ligases: EC 4–6 Second Edition. (Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg).
A chapter in an edited book
Altman, E., Avrachenkov, K., Barakat, C., and Chandrayana, K. (2007). A Multilevel Approach for the Modelling of Large TCP/IP Networks. In Recent Advances in Modeling and Simulation Tools for Communication Networks and Services, A.N. Ince and A. Bragg, eds (Springer US: Boston, MA), pp. 69–103.

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). Physicists Demonstrate “Weeping Angel” Effect. 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 (2009). Low-Income and Minority Serving Institutions: Management Attention to Long-standing Concerns Needed to Improve Education’s Oversight of Grant Programs (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
Vidal, E.M. (2014). Alcohol disorder with hip or knee surgery: Postoperative alcohol disorder-related costs and length of stay.

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
Ryerson, J. (2017). University Presses. New York Times: BR31.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Sarewitz, 2010).
This sentence cites two references (Sarewitz, 2010; Salzman and Lowell, 2008).

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

  • Two authors: (Salzman and Lowell, 2008)
  • Three or more authors: (Vion 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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