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
Clary DC (2013) Chemistry. 100 years of atomic theory. Science 341:244–245
A journal article with 2 authors
Jackson BE, McInerney MJ (2002) Anaerobic microbial metabolism can proceed close to thermodynamic limits. Nature 415:454–456
A journal article with 3 authors
Zarrinpar A, Park S-H, Lim WA (2003) Optimization of specificity in a cellular protein interaction network by negative selection. Nature 426:676–680
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Zhang S, Zhang J, Baker AA, et al (2014) Three dimensional magnetic abacus memory. Sci Rep 4:6109

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Delgado RL-C, Araki M (2006) Spoken, Multilingual and Multimodal Dialogue Systems. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK
An edited book
Sandau R, Roeser H-P, Valenzuela A (eds) (2010) Small Satellite Missions for Earth Observation: New Developments and Trends. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
A chapter in an edited book
Cohen JL, Beer K (2007) Botulinum Toxins. In: Goldberg DJ (ed) Facial Rejuvenation: A Total Approach. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 79–103

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 Theory in Biosciences.

Blog post
Andrew D (2017) How ‘Cannibalism’ By Breast Cancer Cells Promotes Dormancy: A Possible Clue Into Cancer Recurrence. 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 (1981) Comments on H.R. 3229 and H.R. 3240. 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
Sommer A (2017) How Experiences Influence and Inform School Principals’ Actions to Further Develop Teachers’ Instructional Practice. Doctoral dissertation, George Washington University

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
Park LS (2011) No Safe Place. New York Times BR16

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Clary 2013).
This sentence cites two references (Jackson and McInerney 2002; Clary 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Jackson and McInerney 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Zhang et al. 2014)

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