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
Stuart JS (2001) A near-Earth asteroid population estimate from the LINEAR survey. Science 294:1691–1693
A journal article with 2 authors
Maselli V, Trincardi F (2013) Man made deltas. Sci Rep 3:1926
A journal article with 3 authors
Hillenbrand R, Taubner T, Keilmann F (2002) Phonon-enhanced light matter interaction at the nanometre scale. Nature 418:159–162
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Klein T, Joumard I, Blanchard S, et al (2001) A Bragg glass phase in the vortex lattice of a type II superconductor. Nature 413:404–406

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Tjong SC (2012) Polymer Composites with Carbonaceous Nanofillers. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany
An edited book
Gärtner B (2012) Approximation Algorithms and Semidefinite Programming. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
A chapter in an edited book
Fiedor J, Vojnar T (2013) ANaConDA: A Framework for Analysing Multi-threaded C/C++ Programs on the Binary Level. In: Qadeer S, Tasiran S (eds) Runtime Verification: Third International Conference, RV 2012, Istanbul, Turkey, September 25-28, 2012, Revised Selected Papers. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 35–41

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 E (2014) For Life To Form On A Planet It Needs To Orbit The Right Kind Of Star. 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 (2008) National Transportation Safety Board: Progress Made in Management Practices, Investigation Priorities, Training Center Use, and Information Security, But These Areas Continue to Need Improvement. 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
Victoria FC (2017) One on One. 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
Corkery M (2017) Investors Lose Patience As Retail Fails to Rally. New York Times B3

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Stuart 2001).
This sentence cites two references (Stuart 2001; Maselli and Trincardi 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Maselli and Trincardi 2013)
  • Three or more authors: (Klein et al. 2001)

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