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
Jansen, L.E.T. (2012). Genetics. Sowing the seeds of centromeres. Science 335, 299–300.
A journal article with 2 authors
Rowley, D.B., and Currie, B.S. (2006). Palaeo-altimetry of the late Eocene to Miocene Lunpola basin, central Tibet. Nature 439, 677–681.
A journal article with 3 authors
Usami, Y., Wu, Y., and Göttlinger, H.G. (2015). SERINC3 and SERINC5 restrict HIV-1 infectivity and are counteracted by Nef. Nature 526, 218–223.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Sandström, M., Jalilehvand, F., Persson, I., Gelius, U., Frank, P., and Hall-Roth, I. (2002). Deterioration of the seventeenth-century warship Vasa by internal formation of sulphuric acid. Nature 415, 893–897.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Durenard, E.A. (2013). Professional Automated Trading (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
An edited book
Zhang, X. (2015). MicroRNA Detection and Pathological Functions (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer).
A chapter in an edited book
Gyenge, E. (2008). Electrocatalytic Oxidation of Methanol, Ethanol and Formic Acid. In PEM Fuel Cell Electrocatalysts and Catalyst Layers: Fundamentals and Applications, J. Zhang, ed. (London: Springer), pp. 165–287.

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. (2014). NASA Believes Newest Telescopes Could Spot Extraterrestrial Life Within 20 Years (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 (1974). Need To Revise Office of Saline Water’s Restrictive Patent Policy (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
Colchero Dorado, R. (2008). Recovering memory in Jordi Soler’s “Los rojos de ultramar.” Doctoral dissertation. University of North Carolina.

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
Kelly, C. (2017). From Spain to Romania, There’s No Respite From the Heat. New York Times TR2.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Jansen, 2012).
This sentence cites two references (Jansen, 2012; Rowley and Currie, 2006).

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

  • Two authors: (Rowley and Currie, 2006)
  • Three or more authors: (Sandström et al., 2002)

About the journal

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

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