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
Quéré, Y. (2010). Academies must engage with society. Nature 465: 1009.
A journal article with 2 authors
Thomas, G.L. and Thorne, R.E. (2001). Night-time predation by Steller sea lions. Nature 411: 1013.
A journal article with 3 authors
Winston, W.M., Molodowitch, C., and Hunter, C.P. (2002). Systemic RNAi in C. elegans requires the putative transmembrane protein SID-1. Science 295: 2456–2459.
A journal article with 13 or more authors
Hennessy, K., Badolato, A., Winger, M., Gerace, D., Atatüre, M., Gulde, S., Fält, S., Hu, E.L., and Imamoğlu, A. (2007). Quantum nature of a strongly coupled single quantum dot-cavity system. Nature 445: 896–899.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Stavroudis, O.N. (2006). The Mathematics of Geometrical and Physical Optics (Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA: Weinheim, FRG).
An edited book
Scholz, S. and Jarboe, M.D. eds (2016). Diagnostic and Interventional Ultrasound in Pediatrics and Pediatric Surgery 1st ed. 2016. (Springer International Publishing: Cham).
A chapter in an edited book
Pulido, F., McCreary, D., Cañellas, I., McClaran, M., and Plieninger, T. (2013). Oak Regeneration: Ecological Dynamics and Restoration Techniques. In Mediterranean Oak Woodland Working Landscapes: Dehesas of Spain and Ranchlands of California, P. Campos, L. Huntsinger, J.L. Oviedo Pro, P.F. Starrs, M. Diaz, R.B. Standiford, and G. Montero, eds, Landscape Series. (Springer Netherlands: Dordrecht), pp. 123–144.

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
O`Callaghan, J. (2017). The Sun Has Been Spotless For More Than Two Weeks. 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 (1977). Security of Computer Systems (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
Bukvic, I.I. (2005). Tabula Rasa: An Interactive Electroacoustic Work for Flute, Piano, Cello and Live Computer.

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. (2007). Supreme Court to Address State Tax Breaks for Bonds. New York Times: C3.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Quéré, 2010).
This sentence cites two references (Quéré, 2010; Thomas and Thorne, 2001).

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

  • Two authors: (Thomas and Thorne, 2001)
  • Three or more authors: (Hennessy et al., 2007)

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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