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
Schiermeier, Q. (2002). Low stocks prompt calls for North Atlantic fishing ban. Nature 419, 866.
A journal article with 2 authors
Karpicke, J.D., and Blunt, J.R. (2011). Retrieval practice produces more learning than elaborative studying with concept mapping. Science 331, 772–775.
A journal article with 3 authors
Lobell, D.B., Schlenker, W., and Costa-Roberts, J. (2011). Climate trends and global crop production since 1980. Science 333, 616–620.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Hofstetter, L., Csonka, S., Nygård, J., and Schönenberger, C. (2009). Cooper pair splitter realized in a two-quantum-dot Y-junction. Nature 461, 960–963.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Smith, R.E., Carraher, E., and DeLisle, P. (2017). Leading Collaborative Architectural Practice (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
An edited book
Chen, Y., Balke, W.-T., Xu, J., Xu, W., Jin, P., Lin, X., Tang, T., and Hwang, E. eds. (2014). Web-Age Information Management: WAIM 2014 International Workshops: BigEM, HardBD, DaNoS, HRSUNE, BIDASYS, Macau, China, June 16-18, 2014, Revised Selected Papers (Springer International Publishing).
A chapter in an edited book
Grégoire, É., Lagniez, J.-M., and Mazure, B. (2014). A General Artificial Intelligence Approach for Skeptical Reasoning. In Artificial General Intelligence: 7th International Conference, AGI 2014, Quebec City, QC, Canada, August 1-4, 2014. Proceedings Lecture Notes in Computer Science., B. Goertzel, L. Orseau, and J. Snaider, eds. (Springer International Publishing), pp. 33–42.

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
Taub, B. (2016). Avian Malaria Wipes Out UK Zoo’s Entire Colony Of Penguins. 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 (2016). Information Technology: Uncertainty Remains about the Bureau’s Readiness for a Key Decennial Census Test (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
Beal, M.E. (2013). Predictive qualities of social characteristics and social integration on altruistic outcomes.

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
Saulny, S. (2003). Lawyer Faces New Charges Of Giving Support to Terrorist. New York Times, B9.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in superscript:

This sentence cites one reference 2.
This sentence cites two references 2,4.
This sentence cites four references 2,4,6,8.

About the journal

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

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