How to format your references using the Molecular Biology of the Cell citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Molecular Biology of the Cell. 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
Wetherbee, R (2002). Biomineralization. The diatom glasshouse. Science 298, 547.
A journal article with 2 authors
Caffrey, DR, and Fitzgerald, KA (2012). Immunology. Select inflammasome assembly. Science 336, 420–421.
A journal article with 3 authors
Prasanth, SG, Prasanth, KV, and Stillman, B (2002). Orc6 involved in DNA replication, chromosome segregation, and cytokinesis. Science 297, 1026–1031.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Qiu, S-Q, Wei, X-L, Huang, W-H, Wu, M-Y, Qin, Y-S, Li, Y-K, and Zhang, G-J (2013). Diagnostic and therapeutic strategy and the most efficient prognostic factors of breast malignant fibrous histiocytoma. Sci Rep 3, 2529.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Adámek, J (1991). Foundations of Coding, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Gross, D (2011). Engineering Mechanics 3: Dynamics, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Cumming, JJ, and Van der Kleij, FM (2016). Effective Enactment of Assessment for Learning and Student Diversity in Australia. In: Assessment for Learning: Meeting the Challenge of Implementation, ed. D Laveault, and L Allal, Cham: Springer International Publishing, 55–73.

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 Biology of the Cell.

Blog post
Andrew, E (2014). 99.999% Certainty Humans Are Driving Global Warming: New Study. IFLScience. Available at: Accessed October 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 (2013). Indian Affairs: Management Challenges Continue to Hinder Efforts to Improve Indian Education, 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
Teo, YM (2017). Acculturation Levels, Social Media Usage and Their Relationship with Dietary Patterns among Asian American Young Adults. Doctoral dissertation. California State University, Long Beach.

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
Kelly, BKB, Writer, A, and has covered Chicago politics for eight years (1985). CHICAGO AND ITS MAYOR, TWO YEARS LATER. New York Times, 123.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Wetherbee, 2002).
This sentence cites two references (Wetherbee, 2002; Caffrey and Fitzgerald, 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Caffrey and Fitzgerald, 2012)
  • Three or more authors: (Qiu et al., 2013)

About the journal

Full journal titleMolecular Biology of the Cell
AbbreviationMol. Biol. Cell
ISSN (print)1059-1524
ISSN (online)1939-4586
ScopeCell Biology
Molecular Biology

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