How to format your references using the Molecular and Cellular Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB). 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
McFiggans G. 2014. Atmospheric science: Involatile particles from rapid oxidation. Nature 506:442–443.
A journal article with 2 authors
Yu XM, Luo L. 2012. Neuroscience. dSarm-ing axon degeneration. Science 337:418–419.
A journal article with 3 authors
Bauer P, Thorpe A, Brunet G. 2015. The quiet revolution of numerical weather prediction. Nature 525:47–55.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Shimoda T, Matsuki Y, Furusawa M, Aoki T, Yudasaka I, Tanaka H, Iwasawa H, Wang D, Miyasaka M, Takeuchi Y. 2006. Solution-processed silicon films and transistors. Nature 440:783–786.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Mohos FÁ. 2017. Confectionery and Chocolate Engineering. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Sullivan P. 2013. Teaching with Tasks for Effective Mathematics Learning. Springer, New York, NY.
A chapter in an edited book
Arthur M. 2016. Excellence in Research, p. 77–90. In Tayeb, O, Zahed, A, Ritzen, J (eds.), Becoming a World-Class University: The case of King Abdulaziz University. Springer International Publishing, Cham.

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 Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Blog post
Fang J. 2015. Have Fossil Fuels Officially Lost to Renewables? IFLScience. 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. 2002. Federal Student Aid: Progress in Integrating Pell Grant and Direct Loan Systems and Processes, but Critical Work Remains. GAO-03-241. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Rajagopal S. 2012. Assessing water management impacts of climate change for a semi-arid watershed in the southwestern US. Doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

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
Brantley B. 2016. Insanity Most Genteel. New York Times.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in parentheses:

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 titleMolecular and Cellular Biology
AbbreviationMol. Cell. Biol.
ISSN (print)0270-7306
ISSN (online)1098-5549
ScopeCell Biology
Molecular Biology

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