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
Randolph, G.J. Immunology. No Need to Coax Monocytes. Science 2011, 332, 1268–1269.
A journal article with 2 authors
Engel, H.-A.; Loss, D. Fermionic Bell-State Analyzer for Spin Qubits. Science 2005, 309, 586–588.
A journal article with 3 authors
Stephens, I.E.L.; Elias, J.S.; Shao-Horn, Y. CATALYSIS. The Importance of Being Together. Science 2015, 350, 164–165.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Wang, W.; Thornton, K.; Berry, A.; Long, M. Nucleotide Variation along the Drosophila Melanogaster Fourth Chromosome. Science 2002, 295, 134–137.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Dos Santos, E.C., Jr; Cabral da Silva, E.R. ADVANCED POWER ELECTRONICS CONVERTERS; John Wiley & Sons, Inc: Hoboken, NJ, 2014; ISBN 9781118886953.
An edited book
Group Decision and Negotiation. A Process-Oriented View: Joint INFORMS-GDN and EWG-DSS International Conference, GDN 2014, Toulouse, France, June 10-13, 2014. Proceedings; Zaraté, P., Kersten, G.E., Hernández, J.E., Eds.; Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2014; Vol. 180; ISBN 9783319071787.
A chapter in an edited book
Cerejeiras, P.; Chen, Q.; Gomes, N.; Hartmann, S. Compressed Sensing with Nonlinear Fourier Atoms. In Modern Trends in Hypercomplex Analysis; Bernstein, S., Kähler, U., Sabadini, I., Sommen, F., Eds.; Trends in Mathematics; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2016; pp. 47–77 ISBN 9783319425283.

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
Andrews, R. Homemade Super-Powerful Laser Bazooka Is More Blinding Than 33 Million Suns Available online: (accessed on 30 October 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 Education and Employment Issue Area: Active Assignments; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1998;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Miller, R.J. An Investigation Examining the Perceived Implications of Principal Leadership Changing A Large Comprehensive High School into Smaller Learning Communities. Doctoral dissertation, George Washington University: Washington, DC, 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
St. John Kelly, E. The Neediest Cases; Chasing Her Dream Through Education. New York Times 1995, 126.

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