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
Braun DM (2012) Plant science. SWEET! The pathway is complete. Science 335:173–174
A journal article with 2 authors
Nadeau JH, Dudley AM (2011) Genetics. Systems genetics. Science 331:1015–1016
A journal article with 3 authors
Beskow LM, Dame L, Costello EJ (2008) Research ethics. Certificates of confidentiality and compelled disclosure of data. Science 322:1054–1055
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Schubert U, Antón LC, Gibbs J, et al (2000) Rapid degradation of a large fraction of newly synthesized proteins by proteasomes. Nature 404:770–774

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Walkenbach J (2010) Excel® 2010 Power Programming with VBA. Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, NJ
An edited book
Gelbukh A (ed) (2012) Computational Linguistics and Intelligent Text Processing: 13th International Conference, CICLing 2012, New Delhi, India, March 11-17, 2012, Proceedings, Part II. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
A chapter in an edited book
Rabinovich V, Alexandrov N (2013) Simplified Smart Beamforming. In: Alexandrov N (ed) Antenna Arrays and Automotive Applications. Springer, New York, NY, pp 87–113

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
Hamilton K (2015) This Is What A World Map Looks Like When Scaled According To Population Size. 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 (2014) Information Technology: Implementing Best Practices and Reform Initiatives Can Help Improve the Management of Investments. 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
Heatlie JM (2015) Effects of Simulation on Senior Nursing Students’ Patient Safety Competence: A Quantitative Study. Doctoral dissertation, Northcentral 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
Fernandez M (2015) After Shooting, Scrutiny Turns to 2nd Officer. New York Times A1

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Braun 2012).
This sentence cites two references (Nadeau and Dudley 2011; Braun 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Nadeau and Dudley 2011)
  • Three or more authors: (Schubert et al. 2000)

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