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
Desiraju GR (2003) In search of clarity. Nature 423:485
A journal article with 2 authors
Bland-Hawthorn J, Peebles PJE (2006) Astronomy. Near-field cosmology. Science 313:311–312
A journal article with 3 authors
Ebel C, Mariconti L, Gruissem W (2004) Plant retinoblastoma homologues control nuclear proliferation in the female gametophyte. Nature 429:776–780
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Dejoie C, Sciau P, Li W, et al (2014) Learning from the past: rare ε-Fe2O3 in the ancient black-glazed Jian (Tenmoku) wares. Sci Rep 4:4941

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Higgs PG, Attwood TK (2004) Bioinformatics and Molecular Evolution. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Malden, MA USA
An edited book
Jüttler B, Piene R (eds) (2008) Geometric Modeling and Algebraic Geometry. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
A chapter in an edited book
Wilcox AB (2015) Leveraging Electronic Health Records for Phenotyping. In: Payne PRO, Embi PJ (eds) Translational Informatics: Realizing the Promise of Knowledge-Driven Healthcare. Springer, London, pp 61–74

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
Taub B (2016) Restrictive Texas Abortion Law Struck Down By Supreme Court. 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 (1987) Aviation Safety: Commuter Airports Should Participate in the Airport Certification Program. 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
Curry M (2012) Students’ perceptions of entrepreneurship at a historically black university in central Mississippi. Doctoral dissertation, Mississippi State 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
Barron J (2016) A Band Helps the East Village Heal After a Devastating Gas Explosion. New York Times A14

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Desiraju 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Desiraju 2003; Bland-Hawthorn and Peebles 2006).

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

  • Two authors: (Bland-Hawthorn and Peebles 2006)
  • Three or more authors: (Dejoie 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