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
Butler, D. 2003. Spiralling costs dog comet mission. Nature. 423:372.
A journal article with 2 authors
Adesnik, H., and M. Scanziani. 2010. Lateral competition for cortical space by layer-specific horizontal circuits. Nature. 464:1155–1160.
A journal article with 3 authors
King, M.C., C.P. Lusk, and G. Blobel. 2006. Karyopherin-mediated import of integral inner nuclear membrane proteins. Nature. 442:1003–1007.
A journal article with 99 or more authors
Polovinkin, L., G. Hassaine, J. Perot, E. Neumann, A.A. Jensen, S.N. Lefebvre, P.-J. Corringer, J. Neyton, C. Chipot, F. Dehez, G. Schoehn, and H. Nury. 2018. Conformational transitions of the serotonin 5-HT3 receptor. Nature. 563:275–279.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Banks, R.E., J.M. Sharp, S.D. Doss, and D.A. Vanderford. 2016. Exotic Small Mammal Care and Husbandry. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Ames, Iowa, USA.
An edited book
Venkatesh, T. 2010. An Analytical Approach to Optical Burst Switched Networks. C.S.R. Murthy, editor. Springer US, Boston, MA. XVI, 262 p pp.
A chapter in an edited book
Crabtree, A., M. Rouncefield, and P. Tolmie. 2012. Dispensing with Method. In Doing Design Ethnography. M. Rouncefield and P. Tolmie, editors. Springer, London. 67–87.

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. Sex Cells Exist To Protect Mitochondria From Mutation. 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. 1990. Railroad Regulation: Economic and Financial Impacts of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980. 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
Patra, P. 2009. Image scaling with three different interpolation techniques and their comparisons. California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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
Healy, P. 2016. ‘Brexit’ Revolt Casts a Shadow Over Clinton’s Path of Caution. New York Times. A1.

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; Adesnik and Scanziani, 2010).

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

  • Two authors: (Adesnik and Scanziani, 2010)
  • Three or more authors: (Polovinkin et al., 2018)

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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