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
López-Urrutia, A. (2003). Allometry: How reliable is the biological time clock? Nature 424, 269–270; discussion 270.
A journal article with 2 authors
Roman, J., and Palumbi, S.R. (2003). Whales before whaling in the North Atlantic. Science 301, 508–510.
A journal article with 3 authors
Minai, L., Yeheskely-Hayon, D., and Yelin, D. (2013). High levels of reactive oxygen species in gold nanoparticle-targeted cancer cells following femtosecond pulse irradiation. Sci. Rep. 3, 2146.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Kural, C., Kim, H., Syed, S., Goshima, G., Gelfand, V.I., and Selvin, P.R. (2005). Kinesin and dynein move a peroxisome in vivo: a tug-of-war or coordinated movement? Science 308, 1469–1472.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Williams, P. (2015). Managing Measurement Risk in Building and Civil Engineering (Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd).
An edited book
(2016). Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Evidence-Based Evaluation, Diagnosis and Treatment (Cham: Springer International Publishing).
A chapter in an edited book
Silcox, H.M.-M. (2011). The Evolution of Justice in The Oresteia. In Destiny, the Inward Quest, Temporality and Life, A.-T. Tymieniecka, ed. (Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands), pp. 33–41.

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
Andrew, E. (2015). Scientists Identify The Neurons That Influence Alcoholism (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 (1996). Federal Research: Preliminary Information on the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (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
Murillo, K. (2010). An analysis of California community college budget policy key components in multicollege districts. Doctoral dissertation. Pepperdine University.

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
Rojas, R., Remnick, N., and Palmer, E. (2016). Prosecutor Adds First-Degree Murder Charge in Killing of Imam and Aide. New York Times A17.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (López-Urrutia, 2003).
This sentence cites two references (López-Urrutia, 2003; Roman and Palumbi, 2003).

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

  • Two authors: (Roman and Palumbi, 2003)
  • Three or more authors: (Kural et al., 2005)

About the journal

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

Other styles