How to format your references using the Theory in Biosciences citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Theory in Biosciences. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
McGill B (2015) Biodiversity: Land use matters. Nature 520:38–39
A journal article with 2 authors
Chen S-W, Liu R-B (2014) Faraday rotation echo spectroscopy and detection of quantum fluctuations. Sci Rep 4:4695
A journal article with 3 authors
Rakitzis TP, van den Brom AJ, Janssen MHM (2004) Directional dynamics in the photodissociation of oriented molecules. Science 303:1852–1854
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Inoue K, Kohda T, Lee J, et al (2002) Faithful expression of imprinted genes in cloned mice. Science 295:297

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Krabbes G, Fuchs G, Canders W-R, et al (2006) High Temperature Superconductor Bulk Materials. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, FRG
An edited book
Salberg A-B, Hardeberg JY, Jenssen R (eds) (2009) Image Analysis: 16th Scandinavian Conference, SCIA 2009, Oslo, Norway, June 15-18, 2009. Proceedings. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
A chapter in an edited book
Jones K, Mackrell K, Stevenson I (2010) Designing Digital Technologies and Learning Activities for Different Geometries. In: Hoyles C, Lagrange J-B (eds) Mathematics Education and Technology-Rethinking the Terrain: The 17th ICMI Study. Springer US, Boston, MA, pp 47–60

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 Theory in Biosciences.

Blog post
Andrew D (2017) Life On Earth Is Used To Gravity – So What Happens To Our Cells And Tissues In Space? In: IFLScience. Accessed 30 Oct 2018


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 (1983) Deaf/Blind Children and the Centers Serving Them. 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
Equihua D (2010) The relationship of mental health and family factors to parental involvement in their children’s education among Latina mothers. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach

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
Gelles D, de la MERCED MJ (2017) Torch Passes At Carlyle As a Titan Steps Aside. New York Times B1

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (McGill 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Chen and Liu 2014; McGill 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Chen and Liu 2014)
  • Three or more authors: (Inoue et al. 2002)

About the journal

Full journal titleTheory in Biosciences
AbbreviationTheory Biosci.
ISSN (print)1431-7613
ISSN (online)1611-7530
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Applied Mathematics
Statistics and Probability
General Medicine

Other styles