How to format your references using the Cell Reports citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Cell Reports. 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
Binzel, R.P. (2012). Planetary science. A golden spike for planetary science. Science 338, 203–204. .
A journal article with 2 authors
Warner, D.A., and Shine, R. (2008). The adaptive significance of temperature-dependent sex determination in a reptile. Nature 451, 566–568. .
A journal article with 3 authors
Aarts, H., Custers, R., and Marien, H. (2008). Preparing and motivating behavior outside of awareness. Science 319, 1639. .
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Li, B., Chen, D., Wang, J., Yan, Z., Jiang, L., Deliang Duan, He, J., Luo, Z., Zhang, J., and Yuan, F. (2014). MOFzyme: Intrinsic protease-like activity of Cu-MOF. Sci. Rep. 4, 6759. .

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bell, S. (2005). Lean Enterprise Systems (Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd).
An edited book
(2016). The Economics of the Global Environment: Catastrophic Risks in Theory and Policy (Cham: Springer International Publishing).
A chapter in an edited book
Sundar, S. (2014). A Steady-State Genetic Algorithm for the Dominating Tree Problem. In Simulated Evolution and Learning: 10th International Conference, SEAL 2014, Dunedin, New Zealand, December 15-18, 2014. Proceedings, G. Dick, W.N. Browne, P. Whigham, M. Zhang, L.T. Bui, H. Ishibuchi, Y. Jin, X. Li, Y. Shi, P. Singh, et al., eds. (Cham: Springer International Publishing), pp. 48–57.

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 Reports.

Blog post
Davis, J. (2015). New Report Shows How Marine Mammals Are Thriving In Central London (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 (1982). Questions Designed To Aid Managers and Auditors in Assessing the ADP Planning Process (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
Vu, M.K. (2015). Reducing mental health provider burnout through wellness: A grant proposal. 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
Greenhouse, L. (2008). 3 Defining Opinions. New York Times WK4. .

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Binzel, 2012).
This sentence cites two references (Binzel, 2012; Warner and Shine, 2008).

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

  • Two authors: (Warner and Shine, 2008)
  • Three or more authors: (Li et al., 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titleCell Reports
AbbreviationCell Rep.
ISSN (print)2211-1247
ScopeGeneral Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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