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
Ebert, D. Genomics. A Genome for the Environment. Science 2011, 331 (6017), 539–540.
A journal article with 2 authors
Chiosis, G.; Boneca, I. G. Selective Cleavage of D-Ala-D-Lac by Small Molecules: Re-Sensitizing Resistant Bacteria to Vancomycin. Science 2001, 293 (5534), 1484–1487.
A journal article with 3 authors
Nuttall, W. J.; Clarke, R. H.; Glowacki, B. A. Resources: Stop Squandering Helium. Nature 2012, 485 (7400), 573–575.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
West, R. A.; Brown, M. E.; Salinas, S. V.; Bouchez, A. H.; Roe, H. G. No Oceans on Titan from the Absence of a Near-Infrared Specular Reflection. Nature 2005, 436 (7051), 670–672.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Nellist, J. G. Understanding Telecommunications and Lightwave Systems; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2005.
An edited book
Earth and Life: Global Biodiversity, Extinction Intervals and Biogeographic Perturbations Through Time; Talent, J. A., Ed.; International Year of Planet Earth; Springer Netherlands: Dordrecht, 2012.
A chapter in an edited book
De Mulder, E. F. J.; Van Ree, C. C. D. F.; Wang, K. Underground Urban Development: An Overview. In Engineering Geology for Society and Territory - Volume 5: Urban Geology, Sustainable Planning and Landscape Exploitation; Lollino, G., Manconi, A., Guzzetti, F., Culshaw, M., Bobrowsky, P., Luino, F., Eds.; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2015; pp 25–29.

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
Andrew, E. Slow Motion Video: Underwater Bullet. 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. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Progress of the Global Hawk Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration; NSIAD-00-78; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2000.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Martinez, C. A. Intervention Workshops for Members of Multidisciplinary Teams on Hoarding: A Grant Proposal. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, 2013.

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
Sophia Kishkovsky; Compiled B Y. Arts, Briefly; Rachmaninoff Score Unsold. New York Times. December 14, 2004, p E2.

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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