How to format your references using the ACS Synthetic Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for ACS Synthetic Biology. 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
Packer, C. Genetics. A Bit of Texas in Florida. Science 2010, 329 (5999), 1606–1607.
A journal article with 2 authors
Casanova, J.-L.; Abel, L. Primary Immunodeficiencies: A Field in Its Infancy. Science 2007, 317 (5838), 617–619.
A journal article with 3 authors
Kolodner, R. D.; Cleveland, D. W.; Putnam, C. D. Cancer. Aneuploidy Drives a Mutator Phenotype in Cancer. Science 2011, 333 (6045), 942–943.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Bader, B.; Kuhn, K.; Owen, D. J.; Waldmann, H.; Wittinghofer, A.; Kuhlmann, J. Bioorganic Synthesis of Lipid-Modified Proteins for the Study of Signal Transduction. Nature 2000, 403 (6766), 223–226.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Madden, B. J. Wealth Creation; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2010.
An edited book
Light Metals 2014; Grandfield, J., Ed.; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2016.
A chapter in an edited book
Kiang, T. K. L.; Wilby, K. J.; Ensom, M. H. H. Clinical Drug-Drug Interaction Data: Effects of Co-Administered Drugs on Pharmacokinetics of Antiretroviral Agents. In Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Drug Interactions Associated with Antiretroviral Drugs; Kiang, T. K. L., Wilby, K. J., Ensom, M. H. H., Eds.; Springer: Singapore, 2016; pp 43–78.

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 ACS Synthetic Biology.

Blog post
Hamilton, K. 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Holes. IFLScience. (accessed 2018-10-30).


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. ADP Budget: SSA’s Fiscal Year 1990 Information Technology Systems Budget Request; IMTEC-89-60; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1989.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Katsky, C. S. Open Secrets: Congressional Oversight of the CIA in the Early Cold War. Doctoral dissertation, George Washington University, Washington, DC, 2015.

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
Billard, M. Eight Arms To Embrace Your Pair. New York Times. June 24, 2010, p E6.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in superscript:

This sentence cites one reference 1.
This sentence cites two references 1,2.
This sentence cites four references 1–4.

About the journal

Full journal titleACS Synthetic Biology
AbbreviationACS Synth. Biol.
ISSN (online)2161-5063

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