Apps & Technology

Simplifying reference and citation styling

One-click Mendeley reference styling now available for 2,100 journals

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Reference and citation styling is a key component that needs to be correct before a paper’s publication, but it can be time-consuming and complex for authors.

A new Mendeley Desktop feature – developed by Mendeley and Elsevier’s Guide for Authors team – aims to simplify the process and is now live for more than 2,100 journals.

Plugging in to save time

Each journal has its own format requirements, including citation and reference style; the Guide for Authors provides the precise details. Reference management systems contain standard templates with the correct citation style information for most journals.

Several of these systems provide text processor plugins that let you select the appropriate journal reference style template from your style list, and then automatically format the citations and references correctly. At this moment plugins are available for Microsoft Word and LibreOffice: Mendeley, EndNote, Zotero and Papers offer both, and RefWorks has a Word-only plugin.

These can be very useful, saving you time reformatting, and making sure they are using the right style for the journal. It is also very easy to reformat citations and references for a different journal - you can just download the additional template.

Styling with one click in Mendeley Desktop

MendeleyNow we have made that process even easier for Mendeley Desktop: to add a journal to your reference template library and make it available for selection in the plugin, all you need to do is click on the newly-added ‘one click’ link in the journal’s Guide for Authors, and Mendeley Desktop ensures the journal style is added to their style list.

See the European Journal of Radiology as an example or try it for yourself directly: use APA 6th in Mendeley. The links work with styles from the project (see the repository of styles on GitHub).

Many journals now accept submissions with a ‘free’ reference style. While this can save authors time upfront, if their article is accepted, the typesetter still needs to adjust the reference style to the journal’s requirements. The new one click get style template, combined with using plugins, makes it very simple for authors to make sure they are using the right reference style for the journal at initial submission, making manuscripts more suitable earlier in the process.

What’s next?

The aim is to have the one click styling available for many more Elsevier journals, including non-English journals and those using a non-standard reference style. The work is progressing very well and is now available for most of Elsevier’s journals.

Author biography

Egbert van WezenbeekEgbert van Wezenbeek, Director Publication Process Development
Egbert is responsible for the design, development and implementation of improvements related to the publication process of journal articles. This ranges from submission to final publication. The goal is to improve the experience of our authors, editors and reviewers in their interaction with us and our systems. In addition, there is a focus on adapting and innovating processes to add more value to the publication process and to the final published articles. Egbert has been working with Elsevier for more than 20 years. Prior to his current role he worked in various positions in Publishing. He has a PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from the Free University Amsterdam.

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