How to format your references using the Molecular Cell citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Molecular 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
Butler, D. (2003). Quake triggers research expedition. Nature 423, 673.
A journal article with 2 authors
Silver, P.G., and Holt, W.E. (2002). The mantle flow field beneath western North America. Science 295, 1054–1057.
A journal article with 3 authors
Deana, A., Celesnik, H., and Belasco, J.G. (2008). The bacterial enzyme RppH triggers messenger RNA degradation by 5’ pyrophosphate removal. Nature 451, 355–358.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Rubin, C., Turner, A.S., Bain, S., Mallinckrodt, C., and McLeod, K. (2001). Anabolism. Low mechanical signals strengthen long bones. Nature 412, 603–604.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Belsey, C. (2011). A Future for Criticism (Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell).
An edited book
(2006). Handbook of Religion and Social Institutions (Boston, MA: Springer US).
A chapter in an edited book
Ansel, D., Nicot, B., Piombini, A., and Girandola, F. (2016). Affect, Uncertainty, and Decision-Making. In Deciding Where to Live: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Residential Choice in Its Social Context, P. Frankhauser, and D. Ansel, eds. (Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden), pp. 93–112.

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 Cell.

Blog post
Luntz, S. (2014). Craters From Double Asteroid Impact Identified (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 (2000). Federal Communications Commission: Installment Payment Financing for Personal Communications Services (PCS) Licensees (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
Garfield-Kabbara, J.N. (2014). Through the Portal of Shame: A Path Toward Self-Love for Fatherless Daughters Living in Patriarchy. Doctoral dissertation. Pacifica Graduate Institute.

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
Shpigel, B. (2017). Gonzaga Gets Closer to an Elusive Berth. New York Times B9.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Butler, 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Butler, 2003; Silver and Holt, 2002).

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

  • Two authors: (Silver and Holt, 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Rubin et al., 2001)

About the journal

Full journal titleMolecular Cell
AbbreviationMol. Cell
ISSN (print)1097-2765
ISSN (online)1097-4164
ScopeCell Biology
Molecular Biology

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