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
Wang, J. (2005). DNA polymerases: Hoogsteen base-pairing in DNA replication? Nature 437, E6-7; discussion E7.
A journal article with 2 authors
Liu, J., and Diamond, J. (2005). China’s environment in a globalizing world. Nature 435, 1179–1186.
A journal article with 3 authors
Green, D.R., Galluzzi, L., and Kroemer, G. (2011). Mitochondria and the autophagy-inflammation-cell death axis in organismal aging. Science 333, 1109–1112.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Bustamante, C.D., Nielsen, R., Sawyer, S.A., Olsen, K.M., Purugganan, M.D., and Hartl, D.L. (2002). The cost of inbreeding in Arabidopsis. Nature 416, 531–534.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Brower, M.C. (2012). Wind Resource Assessment (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
An edited book
(2013). IT Convergence and Security 2012 (Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands).
A chapter in an edited book
Stanta, G. (2015). Tissue Heterogeneity as a Pre-analytical Source of Variability. In Pre-Analytics of Pathological Specimens in Oncology, M. Dietel, C. Wittekind, G. Bussolati, and M. von Winterfeld, eds. (Cham: Springer International Publishing), pp. 35–43.

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
Hamilton, K. (2015). Before And After Photos Of Volcanic Eruption In Chile (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 (1998). Aviation Security: Implementation of Recommendations Is Under Way, but Completion Will Take Several Years (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
Chotkevys, D.L. (2009). A grounded theory study to explore how nurses overcome barriers to spiritual care. Doctoral dissertation. University of Phoenix.

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
Gustines, G.G. (2015). Diversity Comes to Superheroes. New York Times D1.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Wang, 2005).
This sentence cites two references (Liu and Diamond, 2005; Wang, 2005).

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

  • Two authors: (Liu and Diamond, 2005)
  • Three or more authors: (Bustamante et al., 2002)

About the journal

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

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