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
Barry, C. (2015). Infectious disease. More than just bugs in spit. Science 348, 633–634. .
A journal article with 2 authors
Whorton, M.R., and MacKinnon, R. (2013). X-ray structure of the mammalian GIRK2-βγ G-protein complex. Nature 498, 190–197. .
A journal article with 3 authors
Roditi, H.A., Fisher, N.S., and Sañudo-Wilhelmy, S.A. (2000). Uptake of dissolved organic carbon and trace elements by zebra mussels. Nature 407, 78–80. .
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Wang, C., Xiao, S., Li, Y., Zhong, H., Li, X., and Peng, F. (2014). Methane formation and consumption processes in Xiangxi Bay of the Three Gorges Reservoir. Sci. Rep. 4, 4449. .

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Donham, K.J., and Thelin, A. (2016). Agricultural Medicine (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc).
An edited book
(2006). Philosophy Of Chemistry: Synthesis of a New Discipline (Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands).
A chapter in an edited book
Aliev, R.A., and Guirimov, B.G. (2014). Application of Type-2 Fuzzy Neural Networks. In Type-2 Fuzzy Neural Networks and Their Applications, B.G. Guirimov, ed. (Cham: Springer International Publishing), pp. 167–185.

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
Carpineti, A. (2016). Gravitational Wave Observatories Ready To Start Hunting Again After Upgrade (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 (1999). Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Important Progress Made, Yet Much Work Remains to Ensure Delivery of Critical Services (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
Casem, J. (2009). Moku Ka Pawa: Drawn to the Light. 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
Mumford, S. (1960). Article 6 -- No Title. New York Times MagazineSM79. .

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Barry, 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Barry, 2015; Whorton and MacKinnon, 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Whorton and MacKinnon, 2013)
  • Three or more authors: (Wang et al., 2014)

About the journal

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

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