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
French, R.M. (2012). Computer science. Dusting off the Turing test. Science 336, 164–165.
A journal article with 2 authors
Norris, D.J., and Aydil, E.S. (2012). Materials science. Getting Moore from solar cells. Science 338, 625–626.
A journal article with 3 authors
Raxworthy, C.J., Forstner, M.R.J., and Nussbaum, R.A. (2002). Chameleon radiation by oceanic dispersal. Nature 415, 784–787.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Ghezraoui, H., Oliveira, C., Becker, J.R., Bilham, K., Moralli, D., Anzilotti, C., Fischer, R., Deobagkar-Lele, M., Sanchiz-Calvo, M., Fueyo-Marcos, E., et al. (2018). 53BP1 cooperation with the REV7-shieldin complex underpins DNA structure-specific NHEJ. Nature 560, 122–127.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Gao, J. (2010). Optoelectronic Integrated Circuit Design and Device Modeling (Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd).
An edited book
(2015). Ethical Issues in Anesthesiology and Surgery (Cham: Springer International Publishing).
A chapter in an edited book
Lauritzen, S.L. (2012). Interaction Models. In Selected Works of Terry Speed, S. Dudoit, ed. (New York, NY: Springer), pp. 91–140.

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
Davis, J. (2015). Do Toilets Really Flow In Opposite Directions In Different Hemispheres? (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 (1971). Feasibility of Treating Contractors’ Independent Research and Development Costs as a Budget Line Item (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
Alsaadi, A. (2016). Smart smoke and fire detection with wireless and global system for mobile technology. 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
Walsh, M.W. (2012). A Town That Backed a Failed Project Refuses to Pay. New York Times B6.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (French, 2012).
This sentence cites two references (French, 2012; Norris and Aydil, 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Norris and Aydil, 2012)
  • Three or more authors: (Ghezraoui et al., 2018)

About the journal

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

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