How to format your references using the Water Resources Research citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Water Resources Research. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
Lederman, L. (2004). The pleasure of learning. Nature, 430(7000), 617.
A journal article with 2 authors
Imura, T., & Tomonaga, M. (2013). Differences between chimpanzees and humans in visual temporal integration. Scientific Reports, 3, 3256.
A journal article with 3 authors
Lower, S. K., Hochella, M. F., Jr, & Beveridge, T. J. (2001). Bacterial recognition of mineral surfaces: nanoscale interactions between Shewanella and alpha-FeOOH. Science (New York, N.Y.), 292(5520), 1360–1363.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Bersten, M. C., Folatelli, G., García, F., Van Dyk, S. D., Benvenuto, O. G., Orellana, M., et al. (2018). A surge of light at the birth of a supernova. Nature, 554(7693), 497–499.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Speight, J. G. (2014). Handbook of Petroleum Product Analysis. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Liu, X.-J. (2014). Parallel Kinematics: Type, Kinematics, and Optimal Design. (J. Wang, Ed.). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Bornemann, T., Holtkamp, W., & Wintermeyer, W. (2014). Nascent Peptide-Induced Signaling from the Exit Tunnel to the Outside of the Ribosome. In K. Ito (Ed.), Regulatory Nascent Polypeptides (pp. 87–97). Tokyo: Springer Japan.

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 Water Resources Research.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2014, July 29). Solving The Mysteries Behind Starling Flocks. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from


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). Space Acquisitions: Assessment of Overhead Persistent Infrared Technology Report (No. GAO-14-287R). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Villagomez, G. C. (2017). Helping Foster Parents and Kinship Caregivers Support High School Graduation for Children in Their Care: A Self-Instructional Workbook (Doctoral dissertation). California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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
Wagner, J. (2017, March 4). Pitching Took Root After the Troubles Were Left Behind. New York Times, p. D3.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Lederman, 2004).
This sentence cites two references (Imura & Tomonaga, 2013; Lederman, 2004).

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

  • Two authors: (Imura & Tomonaga, 2013)
  • Three or more authors: (Bersten et al., 2018)

About the journal

Full journal titleWater Resources Research
AbbreviationWater Resour. Res.
ISSN (print)0043-1397
ISSN (online)1944-7973
ScopeWater Science and Technology

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