How to format your references using the Cell citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Cell. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
Crutzen, P.J. (2002). Geology of mankind. Nature 415, 23.
A journal article with 2 authors
Sincich, L.C., and Horton, J.C. (2002). Divided by cytochrome oxidase: a map of the projections from V1 to V2 in macaques. Science 295, 1734–1737.
A journal article with 3 authors
Aronov, D., Andalman, A.S., and Fee, M.S. (2008). A specialized forebrain circuit for vocal babbling in the juvenile songbird. Science 320, 630–634.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Hsu, H.-W., Schmidt, J., Kempf, S., Postberg, F., Moragas-Klostermeyer, G., Seiß, M., Hoffmann, H., Burton, M., Ye, S., Kurth, W.S., et al. (2018). In situ collection of dust grains falling from Saturn’s rings into its atmosphere. Science 362.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Pérez, A. (2013). Mobile Networks Architecture (Hoboken, NJ USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
An edited book
(2011). Mobile Networks and Management: Second International ICST Conference, MONAMI 2010, Santander, Spain, September 22-24, 2010, Revised Selected Papers (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer).
A chapter in an edited book
Pratje, E. (2007). Proteases of the Rhomboid Family in the Yeast Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. In Intramembrane-Cleaving Proteases (I-CLiPs), N.M. Hooper, and U. Lendeckel, eds. (Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands), pp. 79–88.

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 Cell.

Blog post
Fang, J. (2015). New Genomic Analysis Shakes Up Bird Family Tree (IFLScience).


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 (1974). Survival of Higher Education in the Years Ahead (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
Ghafoori, E. (2014). Wavelet transform and neural network. Doctoral dissertation. California State University, Long Beach.

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
Hollander, S. (2009). Even Among Venerable Texts, A Torah Like No Other. New York Times CY5.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Rowley, 2013).
This sentence cites two references (Buckingham, 2000; Knight, 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Sincich and Horton, 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Neumann et al., 2003)

About the journal

Full journal titleCell
ISSN (print)0092-8674
ISSN (online)1097-4172
ScopeGeneral Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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