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
Lu, H. P. (2012). Biochemistry. Enzymes in coherent motion. Science (New York, N.Y.), 335(6066), 300–301.
A journal article with 2 authors
Johnson, J. P., Jr, & Zagotta, W. N. (2001). Rotational movement during cyclic nucleotide-gated channel opening. Nature, 412(6850), 917–921.
A journal article with 3 authors
Davies, J. P., Chen, F. W., & Ioannou, Y. A. (2000). Transmembrane molecular pump activity of Niemann-Pick C1 protein. Science (New York, N.Y.), 290(5500), 2295–2298.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Boshkovikj, V., Fluke, C. J., Crawford, R. J., & Ivanova, E. P. (2014). Three-dimensional visualization of nanostructured surfaces and bacterial attachment using Autodesk® Maya®. Scientific Reports, 4, 4228.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Maudlin, T. (2011). Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
An edited book
Batta, R., & Kwon, C. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of OR/MS Models in Hazardous Materials Transportation. New York, NY: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Sun, Y., Nishida, T., & Thompson, S. E. (2010). Band Structures of Strained Semiconductors. In S. E. Thompson & T. Nishida (Eds.), Strain Effect in Semiconductors: Theory and Device Applications (pp. 51–135). Boston, MA: Springer US.

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
Fang, J. (2015, January 15). Researchers Find Brain Feature That’s Unique To Humans. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from IFLScience website:


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. (1989). ICBM Modernization: Status of the Peacekeeper Rail Garrison Missile System (No. NSIAD-89-64). 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
Castaneda Martinez, N. E. (2013). Implementation of the Parent Partner Project to improve reunification rates in Sonoma County: A grant proposal (Doctoral dissertation). California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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
Kishkovsky, S. (2009, November 20). Russian Priest Killed in Church. New York Times, p. A8.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Lu, 2012).
This sentence cites two references (Johnson & Zagotta, 2001; Lu, 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Johnson & Zagotta, 2001)
  • Three authors: (Davies, Chen, & Ioannou, 2000)
  • 6 or more authors: (Boshkovikj, Fluke, Crawford, & Ivanova, 2014)

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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