How to format your references using the Cells citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Cells. 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
Brenner, M.P. Fluid mechanics. Jets from a singular surface. Nature 2000, 403, 377–378.
A journal article with 2 authors
Whetten, R.L.; Price, R.C. Chemistry. Nano-golden order. Science 2007, 318, 407–408.
A journal article with 3 authors
Alexander, J.M.; Diez, J.M.; Levine, J.M. Novel competitors shape species’ responses to climate change. Nature 2015, 525, 515–518.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Ghosh, S.; Khamarui, S.; Gayen, K.S.; Maiti, D.K. ArCH(OMe)₂--a Pt(IV)-catalyst originator for diverse annulation catalysis. Sci. Rep. 2013, 3, 2987.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Tourlakis, G. Mathematical Logic; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2008; ISBN 9781118032435.
An edited book
Ferronsky, V.I. Dynamics of the Earth: Theory of the Planet’s Motion Based on Dynamic Equilibrium; Ferronsky, S.V., Ed.; Revised and updated edition of the book in Russian “Dinamika Zemly: Teoria dvizhenija planety na osnovah dinamicheskogo ravnovesia” by S. I. Ferronsky and S. V. Ferronsky, Nauchniy Mir, 2007.; Springer Netherlands: Dordrecht, 2010; ISBN 9789048187225.
A chapter in an edited book
Gustin, J.L.; Settles, A.M. Seed Phenomics. In Phenomics: How Next-Generation Phenotyping is Revolutionizing Plant Breeding; Fritsche-Neto, R., Borém, A., Eds.; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2015; pp. 67–82 ISBN 9783319136769.

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 Cells.

Blog post
Andrew, E. Health Check: Are My Memory Lapses Normal Or Could This Be Alzheimer’s disease? Available online: (accessed on Oct 30, 2018).


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 Child Support Enforcement: Leadership Essential to Implementing Effective Automated Systems; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1997;

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Johnson, A.C. The lived experience of the adult African American female who has lived in multiple foster care placements. Doctoral dissertation, Capella University: Minneapolis, MN, 2012.

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
Hodara, S. Artifacts From a Battle That Never Was. New York Times 2015, WE10.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1,2].
This sentence cites four references [1–4].

About the journal

Full journal titleCells
ISSN (online)2073-4409

Other styles