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
Bonetta, L. Protein-Protein Interactions: Interactome under Construction. Nature 2010, 468 (7325), 851–854.
A journal article with 2 authors
Goto, H.; Uchikawa, H. Fault-Tolerant Quantum Computation with a Soft-Decision Decoder for Error Correction and Detection by Teleportation. Sci. Rep. 2013, 3, 2044.
A journal article with 3 authors
Tao, C.; Cullen, W. G.; Williams, E. D. Visualizing the Electron Scattering Force in Nanostructures. Science 2010, 328 (5979), 736–740.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Lee, J.; Kitchaev, D. A.; Kwon, D.-H.; Lee, C.-W.; Papp, J. K.; Liu, Y.-S.; Lun, Z.; Clément, R. J.; Shi, T.; McCloskey, B. D.; et al. Reversible Mn2+/Mn4+ Double Redox in Lithium-Excess Cathode Materials. Nature 2018, 556 (7700), 185–190.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
J.G. Upton, G. Categorical Data Analysis by Example; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2016.
An edited book
Typed Lambda Calculi and Applications: 8th International Conference,TLCA 2007, Paris, France,June 26-28, 2007. Proceedings; Rocca, S. R. D., Ed.; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2007; Vol. 4583.
A chapter in an edited book
Brezinski, C.; Tournès, D. The Method of Cholesky for Linear Systems. In André-Louis Cholesky: Mathematician, Topographer and Army Officer; Tournès, D., Ed.; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2014; pp 77–122.

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. UK Lunar Mission Can Commence After Exceeding Crowdfunding Goal (accessed Oct 30, 2018).


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. Aviation Safety: FAA Has An Opportunity to Enhance Safety and Improve Oversight of Initial Pilot Training; GAO-12-537T; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2012.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Tabellario, C. M. A Plan to Establish a Financial Counseling Center on the Campus of California State University, Long Beach. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, 2009.

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. Think Green and Young. New York Times. August 5, 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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