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
Miller, R.A. (2005). Biomedicine. The anti-aging sweepstakes: catalase runs for the ROSes. Science 308, 1875–1876.
A journal article with 2 authors
Helliker, B.R., and Richter, S.L. (2008). Subtropical to boreal convergence of tree-leaf temperatures. Nature 454, 511–514.
A journal article with 3 authors
Sund, J., Andér, M., and Aqvist, J. (2010). Principles of stop-codon reading on the ribosome. Nature 465, 947–950.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Hoyt, J.R., Langwig, K.E., White, J.P., Kaarakka, H.M., Redell, J.A., Kurta, A., DePue, J.E., Scullon, W.H., Parise, K.L., Foster, J.T., et al. (2018). Cryptic connections illuminate pathogen transmission within community networks. Nature.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Dmytryk, R. (2011). Wildlife Search and Rescue (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd).
An edited book
Cartier, P., Illusie, L., Katz, N.M., Laumon, G., Manin, Y.I., and Ribet, K.A. eds. (2007). The Grothendieck Festschrift: A Collection of Articles Written in Honor of the 60th Birthday of Alexander Grothendieck (Birkhäuser).
A chapter in an edited book
Lundström, A., and Zhou, C. (2014). Rethinking Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprises: A Three-Dimensional Perspective. In Social Entrepreneurship: Leveraging Economic, Political, and Cultural Dimensions International Studies in Entrepreneurship., A. Lundström, C. Zhou, Y. von Friedrichs, and E. Sundin, eds. (Springer International Publishing), pp. 71–89.

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
Andrews, R. (2016). Study Links Alcohol To Seven Types Of Cancer. 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 (1993). Federal Health Care: Increased Information System Sharing Could Improve Service, Reduce Costs (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
Landry, C. (2017). A Phenomenological Investigation of the Factors that Influence Motivation, Recruitment and Retention of Volunteers Age 65 and Over.

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
Stewart, J.B. (2017). Tiny School Outgains the Ivies. Here’s How. New York Times, B1.

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

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