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
You, Z. (2014). Materials design. Folding structures out of flat materials. Science (New York, N.Y.), 345(6197), 623–624.
A journal article with 2 authors
Gautel, M., & Ehler, E. (2010). Cell biology. Gett’N-WASP stripes. Science (New York, N.Y.), 330(6010), 1491–1492.
A journal article with 3 authors
Tobler, P. N., Fiorillo, C. D., & Schultz, W. (2005). Adaptive coding of reward value by dopamine neurons. Science (New York, N.Y.), 307(5715), 1642–1645.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Venail, P. A., MacLean, R. C., Bouvier, T., Brockhurst, M. A., Hochberg, M. E., & Mouquet, N. (2008). Diversity and productivity peak at intermediate dispersal rate in evolving metacommunities. Nature, 452(7184), 210–214.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Godwin, W. (2013). International Construction Contracts. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Spaccapietra, S., Bertino, E., Jajodia, S., King, R., McLeod, D., Orlowska, M. E., & Strous, L. (Eds.). (2005). Journal on Data Semantics II (Vol. 3360). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Unser, A., & Ziebertz, H.-G. (2015). Human Rights and Religion in Germany. In H.-G. Ziebertz & G. Črpić (Eds.), Religion and Human Rights: An International Perspective (pp. 61–83). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

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, E. (2015, May 7). Asteroids Might Have Delivered Water To Earth. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from


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. (1972). Teacher Corps Programs Operated by the Buffalo State University College, the New York University, and the Harlem Institute for Teachers (No. 089472). 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
Escamilla, D. (2012). How performance following the implementation of a new structure affects employee engagement (Doctoral dissertation). Pepperdine University, Malibu, 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
Kelly, K., & Bray, C. (2017, April 10). Held to Account. New York Times, p. B1.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (You, 2014).
This sentence cites two references (Gautel & Ehler, 2010; You, 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Gautel & Ehler, 2010)
  • Three authors: (Tobler, Fiorillo, & Schultz, 2005)
  • 6 or more authors: (Venail et al., 2008)

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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