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
Herzberg, C. (2007). Geochemistry. Food for a volcanic diet. Science 316, 378–379.
A journal article with 2 authors
Sung, C.O., and Sohn, I. (2014). The expression pattern of 19 genes predicts the histology of endometrial carcinoma. Sci. Rep. 4, 5174.
A journal article with 3 authors
Bryant, P., Nunes, T., and Snaith, R. (2000). Children learn an untaught rule of spelling. Nature 403, 157–158.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Bayrakci, S.P., Keller, T., Habicht, K., and Keimer, B. (2006). Spin-wave lifetimes throughout the Brillouin zone. Science 312, 1926–1929.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Marroni, L., and Perdomo, I. (2013). Pricing and Hedging Financial Derivatives (Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd).
An edited book
(2005). Map-based Mobile Services: Theories, Methods and Implementations (Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer).
A chapter in an edited book
Chaudhuri, S., and Mukhopadhyay, U. (2014). FDI, SEZ and Agriculture. In Foreign Direct Investment in Developing Countries: A Theoretical Evaluation, U. Mukhopadhyay, ed. (New Delhi: Springer India), pp. 79–100.

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). Scientists Discover Simple Technique That Cuts Calories In Rice By 60% (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 (1994). Telecommunications: FCC Procedures Delay Release of Decision Documents (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
Balakrishnan, G. (2017). Cognitive radio cooperative spectrum sensing. 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
Vecsey, G. (2011). Mets Thank Troops In a Meaningful Setting. New York Times B11.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Herzberg, 2007).
This sentence cites two references (Herzberg, 2007; Sung and Sohn, 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Sung and Sohn, 2014)
  • Three or more authors: (Bayrakci et al., 2006)

About the journal

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

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