How to format your references using the Cell Systems citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Cell Systems. 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
Smocovitis, V.B. (2000). George Ledyard Stebbins (1906-2000). Nature 404, 562.
A journal article with 2 authors
Roorda, S., and Lewis, L.J. (2012). Comment on “The local structure of amorphous silicon.” Science 338, 1539; author reply 1539.
A journal article with 3 authors
Wechsler, T., Newman, S., and West, S.C. (2011). Aberrant chromosome morphology in human cells defective for Holliday junction resolution. Nature 471, 642–646.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Orgovan, N., Peter, B., Bősze, S., Ramsden, J.J., Szabó, B., and Horvath, R. (2014). Dependence of cancer cell adhesion kinetics on integrin ligand surface density measured by a high-throughput label-free resonant waveguide grating biosensor. Sci. Rep. 4, 4034.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Nikrityuk, P.A. (2011). Computational Thermo-Fluid Dynamics (Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA).
An edited book
(2013). Personal Satellite Services: 4th International ICST Conference, PSATS 2012, Bradford, UK, March 22-23, 2012. Revised Selected Papers (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer).
A chapter in an edited book
Zhang, B., Yue, F., Liu, Y., and Fu, P. (2016). A Quantitative Method for Determining the Primary Air Ratio in Coal-Fired Power Plant. In Clean Coal Technology and Sustainable Development: Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Coal Combustion, G. Yue, and S. Li, eds. (Singapore: Springer), pp. 39–43.

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 Systems.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2015). Extremely Rare Siamese Lizard Twins Found In German Zoo (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 (1991). Space Shuttle: NASA Faces Challenges in Its Attempt to Achieve Planned Flight Rates (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
Johnson, A. (2015). Instructional Practices in Physical Education Programs for Students with Disabilities. Doctoral dissertation. Northcentral 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
Hodgman, J. (2017). Bonus Advice From Judge John Hodgman. New York Times MM18.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Smocovitis, 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Roorda and Lewis, 2012; Smocovitis, 2000).

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

  • Two authors: (Roorda and Lewis, 2012)
  • Three or more authors: (Orgovan et al., 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titleCell Systems
AbbreviationCell Syst.
ISSN (print)2405-4712
ISSN (online)2405-4720

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