How to format your references using the CBE - Life Sciences Education citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for CBE - Life Sciences Education (LSE). 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
Smaglik, P. (2003). A question of gender. Nature, 426(6963), 209.
A journal article with 2 authors
Pitman, N. C. A., & Jørgensen, P. M. (2002). Estimating the size of the world’s threatened flora. Science (New York, N.Y.), 298(5595), 989.
A journal article with 3 authors
Lutz, W., O’Neill, B. C., & Scherbov, S. (2003). Demographics. Europe’s population at a turning point. Science (New York, N.Y.), 299(5615), 1991–1992.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Wilson, S. D., Dai, P., Li, S., Chi, S., Kang, H. J., & Lynn, J. W. (2006). Resonance in the electron-doped high-transition-temperature superconductor Pr0.88LaCe0.12CuO4-delta. Nature, 442(7098), 59–62.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Diver, D. A. (2013). Plasma Formulary for Physics, Astronomy, and Technology. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
An edited book
Ruan, D., Chen, G., Kerre, E. E., & Wets, G. (Eds.). (2005). Intelligent Data Mining: Techniques and Applications. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Hartman, R. (2011). Team Development. In S. Kennedy, D. Aust, D. Kubicek, M. G. D’Souza, R. Mattamal, D. Gault, … M. Hichwa (Eds.), Expert Oracle Application Express (pp. 211–240). Berkeley, CA: Apress.

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 CBE - Life Sciences Education.

Blog post
Andrews, R. (2016, June 10). High-Risk Stem Cell Therapy Found To Halt Multiple Sclerosis.


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. (2007). Highlights of a Forum: Transforming Transportation Policy for the 21st Century (No. GAO-07-1210SP). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Bardhoshi, G. (2012). The Relationship Between Assignment of Non-Counseling Duties and Burnout Among Professional School Counselors (Doctoral dissertation). George Washington University, Washington, DC.

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
Rothenberg, B. (2017, June 7). Halep, Resigned to Defeat, Finds Out It’s Not Over Till It’s Over. New York Times, p. B13.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Smaglik, 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Pitman & Jørgensen, 2002; Smaglik, 2003).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Pitman & Jørgensen, 2002)
  • Three authors: (Lutz, O’Neill, & Scherbov, 2003)
  • 6 or more authors: (Wilson et al., 2006)

About the journal

Full journal titleCBE - Life Sciences Education
AbbreviationCBE Life Sci. Educ.
ISSN (online)1931-7913
ScopeGeneral Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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