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
Watanabe, M. 2003. A developing theme for AIDS. Nature. 426:736–737.
A journal article with 2 authors
Anderson, J.D., and G. Schubert. 2007. Saturn’s gravitational field, internal rotation, and interior structure. Science. 317:1384–1387.
A journal article with 3 authors
Dillingham, M.S., M. Spies, and S.C. Kowalczykowski. 2003. RecBCD enzyme is a bipolar DNA helicase. Nature. 423:893–897.
A journal article with 99 or more authors
Rowsell, J.L.C., E.C. Spencer, J. Eckert, J.A.K. Howard, and O.M. Yaghi. 2005. Gas adsorption sites in a large-pore metal-organic framework. Science. 309:1350–1354.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bi, J. 2015. Sensory Discrimination Tests and Measurements. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Krafft, M., and M.K. Mantrala eds. . 2010. Retailing in the 21st Century: Current and Future Trends. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. XV, 462 p pp.
A chapter in an edited book
Bog, A., K. Sachs, A. Zeier, and H. Plattner. 2012. Normalization in a Mixed OLTP and OLAP Workload Scenario. In Topics in Performance Evaluation, Measurement and Characterization: Third TPC Technology Conference, TPCTC 2011, Seattle, WA, USA, August 29-September 3, 2011, Revised Selected Papers. R. Nambiar and M. Poess, editors. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. 67–82.

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
Andrew, E. 2015. NASA Mission Brings Pluto Into Sharp Focus – but it’s Still Not a Planet. 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. 1991. ADP Procurements: GSA Needs to Improve Its Review Process to Enhance Its ADP Oversight. 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
Bauer, S.L. 2017. Work-Life Balanced Culture, Work Flexibility, and Inducements: Impact on Perceived Organizational Attractiveness and Job Pursuit Intention. Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL.

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
Berkman, S. 2017. Mets’ Matz Needs Elbow Surgery in Another Blow to the Rotation. New York Times. B10.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Watanabe, 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Watanabe, 2003; Anderson and Schubert, 2007).

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

  • Two authors: (Anderson and Schubert, 2007)
  • Three or more authors: (Rowsell et al., 2005)

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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