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
Riordan CG. 2015. Organometallic Chemistry. Catalysis by nickel in its high oxidation state. Science 347:1203–1204.
A journal article with 2 authors
Li W, Walz JY. 2014. Porous nanocomposites with integrated internal domains: application to separation membranes. Sci Rep 4:4418.
A journal article with 3 authors
Stracker TH, Carson CT, Weitzman MD. 2002. Adenovirus oncoproteins inactivate the Mre11-Rad50-NBS1 DNA repair complex. Nature 418:348–352.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Seres J, Seres E, Verhoef AJ, Tempea G, Streli C, Wobrauschek P, Yakovlev V, Scrinzi A, Spielmann C, Krausz F. 2005. Laser technology: source of coherent kiloelectronvolt X-rays. Nature 433:596.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
DiBattista M. 2010. Novel Characters. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.
An edited book
2009. Artificial Intelligence Methods in the Environmental Sciences. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.
A chapter in an edited book
Frost S. 2011. The Implications of the New Materialisms for Feminist Epistemology, p. 69–83. In Grasswick, HE (ed.), Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science: Power in Knowledge. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.

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. Scientists Double The Size Of Ants. 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. 1988. ADP Systems: FDA Can Reduce Development Risks for Its Import Information System. IMTEC-88-42. 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
Kinney EL. 2009. Isolation, identification, and antimicrobial susceptibility analysis of Enterococccus spp. and Salmonella spp. from conventional poultry farms transitioning to organic farming practices. Doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD.

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
Creswell J, Story L. 2011. On All Levels of the Economy, Concern About the Impasse: Losing Top Rating Could Cost Growth And Job Creation. 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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