I'd like to cite the following articles from "Scientific Data" (a journal from the Nature Publishing Group), but no authors are mentioned (as far as I can tell):

  1. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2015.4
  2. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2014.10

However, it's likely that it was written by one (or more) of Nature's editors. If, for example, I am using the BibTeX formatting system, how should I describe the author of the article? For example:

1. author={Nature}
2. author={Nature Publishing Group}
3. author={anonymous}
4. author={}

Or should I leave it blank (option 4)?

3 Answers 3


It probably depends on the citation style you have to use.

The Modern Language Association style (MLA) states

An Editorial & Letter to the Editor

Cite as you would any article in a periodical, but include the designators "Editorial" or "Letter" to identify the type of work it is.

"Of Mines and Men." Editorial. Wall Street Journal east. ed. 24 Oct. 2003: A14. Print.

But the American Psychological Association style (APA) just substitutes the title for the author. See APA blog.

“No Author”: For Sure

In some cases, there truly is no way to pin down who the author is. We treat this as “no author.” In reference citations, we handle this by moving the content’s title into the author position (with no quotation marks around it). This most commonly occurs for wiki entries, dictionary entries, and unattributed website content. In the in-text citation, the title (put inside double quotation marks) likewise takes the place of the author’s name.


Given that they are editorials, I personally would actually choose a fifth option, and cite the author as "Editorial," thereby giving maximum clarity about the nature of the article.

Nature apparently disagrees with me, however, as in the first of your linked articles, the first citation is to another such editorial, as:

Code share. Nature 514, 536–536 (2014).


The standard way for citing these is to use the organization's name as the author. You have to be careful and include it in one of the following ways:

author = {{Nature Publishing Group}}
organization = {Nature Publishing Group}

The reason for double braces in author field is that without them, you can get N.P. Group or Group, N.P. in your article, which are both wrong. Also note that not all BibTeX styles and not all reference types support organization.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .