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

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for The Journal of Cell Biology. 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
Tromans, A. 2000. Entomology. Love is not puffed up. Nature. 404:138.
A journal article with 2 authors
Matsumoto, K., and K. Tanaka. 2004. Neuroscience. Conflict and cognitive control. Science. 303:969–970.
A journal article with 3 authors
Oberholzer, S., E.V. Sukhorukov, and C. Schönenberger. 2002. Crossover between classical and quantum shot noise in chaotic cavities. Nature. 415:765–767.
A journal article with 99 or more authors
Humphries, N.E., N. Queiroz, J.R.M. Dyer, N.G. Pade, M.K. Musyl, K.M. Schaefer, D.W. Fuller, J.M. Brunnschweiler, T.K. Doyle, J.D.R. Houghton, G.C. Hays, C.S. Jones, L.R. Noble, V.J. Wearmouth, E.J. Southall, and D.W. Sims. 2010. Environmental context explains Lévy and Brownian movement patterns of marine predators. Nature. 465:1066–1069.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Richards, S.A., and J.C. Hollerton. 2010. Essential Practical NMR for Organic Chemistry. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Ismail, M., and D.R.D.E.L. González eds. . 2006. Radio Design in Nanometer Technologies. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht. XXVIII, 316 p pp.
A chapter in an edited book
Keshtkar, F., C. Burkett, H. Li, and A.C. Graesser. 2014. Using Data Mining Techniques to Detect the Personality of Players in an Educational Game. In Educational Data Mining: Applications and Trends. A. Peña-Ayala, editor. Springer International Publishing, Cham. 125–150.

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 The Journal of Cell Biology.

Blog post
Luntz, S. 2016. Crustaceans Are Having More Sex Because Of Climate Change. 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. 2001. Mass Transit: Many Management Successes at WMATA, but Capital Planning Could Be Enhanced. 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
Lackey, G.M. 2015. The efficacy of using a natural soil additive for the establishment, survival and diversity of native prairie and spontaneously colonizing plant communities on unirrigated green roofs in a humid subtropical climate. Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.

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
Kenigsberg, B. 2016. Slash. New York Times. C15.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Tromans, 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Tromans, 2000; Matsumoto and Tanaka, 2004).

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

  • Two authors: (Matsumoto and Tanaka, 2004)
  • Three or more authors: (Humphries et al., 2010)

About the journal

Full journal titleThe Journal of Cell Biology
AbbreviationJ. Cell Biol.
ISSN (print)0021-9525
ISSN (online)1540-8140
ScopeCell Biology

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