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
RajBhandary, U.L. (2011). Har Gobind Khorana (1922-2011). Nature 480, 322.
A journal article with 2 authors
Clarke, C.F., and Allan, C.M. (2015). Biochemistry: Unexpected role for vitamin B2. Nature 522, 427–428.
A journal article with 3 authors
Zákány, J., Kmita, M., and Duboule, D. (2004). A dual role for Hox genes in limb anterior-posterior asymmetry. Science 304, 1669–1672.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Terry, I., Walter, G.H., Moore, C., Roemer, R., and Hull, C. (2007). Odor-mediated push-pull pollination in cycads. Science 318, 70.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Afoakwa, E.O. (2016). Chocolate Science and Technology (Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd).
An edited book
(2006). Membrane Computing: 7th International Workshop, WMC 2006, Leiden, The Netherlands, July 17-21, 2006, Revised, Selected, and Invited Papers (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer).
A chapter in an edited book
Mariotti, M. (2016). Selenocysteine Extinctions in Insects. In Short Views on Insect Genomics and Proteomics: Insect Proteomics, Vol.2, C. Raman, M.R. Goldsmith, and T.A. Agunbiade, eds. (Cham: Springer International Publishing), pp. 113–140.

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
Carpineti, A. (2016). Why Do Galaxies Stop Forming Stars? (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 (1972). Expenditures by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for Relocation of Offices and Related Alterations to Buildings in Michoud, Lousiana (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
Harris, D.W. (2012). An examination of the impact of computer-based animations and visualization sequence on student understanding of Hadley Cells in atmospheric circulation. Doctoral dissertation. University of Maryland, College Park.

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
Vecsey, G. (2011). Defections Fuel A Complicated Rivalry. New York Times B11.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (RajBhandary, 2011).
This sentence cites two references (Clarke and Allan, 2015; RajBhandary, 2011).

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

  • Two authors: (Clarke and Allan, 2015)
  • Three or more authors: (Terry et al., 2007)

About the journal

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

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