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
Buchen, L. (2011). Cancer: Missing the mark. Nature, 471(7339), 428–432.
A journal article with 2 authors
Gomez Perdiguero, E., & Geissmann, F. (2014). Cancer immunology. Identifying the infiltrators. Science (New York, N.Y.), 344(6186), 801–802.
A journal article with 3 authors
Biteau, B., Labarre, J., & Toledano, M. B. (2003). ATP-dependent reduction of cysteine-sulphinic acid by S. cerevisiae sulphiredoxin. Nature, 425(6961), 980–984.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Zhou, W., Chen, X.-J., Zhang, J.-B., Li, X.-H., Wang, Y.-Q., & Goncharov, A. F. (2014). Vibrational, electronic and structural properties of wurtzite GaAs nanowires under hydrostatic pressure. Scientific Reports, 4, 6472.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Wilson, M. (2013). Everyday Moral Economies. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.
An edited book
Mora, M., Marx Gómez, J., Garrido, L., & Pérez, F. C. (Eds.). (2014). Engineering and Management of IT-based Service Systems: An Intelligent Decision-Making Support Systems Approach. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Alitappeh, R. J., & Pimenta, L. C. A. (2016). Distributed Safe Deployment of Networked Robots. In N.-Y. Chong & Y.-J. Cho (Eds.), Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems: The 12th International Symposium (pp. 65–77). Tokyo: Springer Japan.

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
Andrew, D. (2016, December 28). 18 “Healthy Habits” You Should Give Up In 2017. 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. (2017). Passengers with Disabilities: Air Carriers’ Disability-Training Programs and the Department of Transportation’s Oversight (No. GAO-17-541R). 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
Williams, C. D. (2013). Playing the Hungarian card: An assessment of radical right impact on Slovak and Hungarian party systems and post-Communist democratic stability (Doctoral dissertation). University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

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
Hodara, S. (2016, March 20). Using Their Artistic Vision to Pierce Iran’s Veil. New York Times, p. WE7.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Buchen, 2011).
This sentence cites two references (Buchen, 2011; Gomez Perdiguero & Geissmann, 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Gomez Perdiguero & Geissmann, 2014)
  • Three authors: (Biteau, Labarre, & Toledano, 2003)
  • 6 or more authors: (Zhou et al., 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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