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Citing Sources in Chemistry: Home

The use of proper and complete citations is required for Chemistry projects. This guide describes the style used by the American Chemical Society. Examples and references for citations to typical works are given in this guide.

Why Cite?

Give credit to the work of others. 

Add authority and credibility to your claims. 

Be honest about the extent of your original contribution. 

Avoid plagiarism. 

Important Things about Citations

Journal titles are usually capitilized sentence-style

Book titles are usually capitalized book-title style

Journal names are always abbreviated

Authors are generally identified by last name and first initials

Pay attention to punctuation placement - periods, commas, semi-colons

Pay attention to italics and bolding

Reference lists usually have the second line of entry indented, though this can vary with publication

URLs can be cumbersome, it is not necessary to indent the second line of these entries

Article titles are often omitted from reference list entries - this varies by publication

The ACS Style Guide is an excellent resource - use it!

Citations Explained

Where do citations go in a paper? 

Citations are made in the body of the text (parenthetical citation) and grouped together at the end of a work (reference list).       

Parenthetical citations, or in-line citations are made in the text at the point where the material is used.  Journal articles in analytical chemistry use a superscript number at the point cited.


The reaction was carried out using a standard Lever apparatus 5 with modifcations as described by Grunkemeyer et al. 6-7

Numerical reference citations are numbered consecutively from the beginning of a paper.  When, occasionally, a reference is repeated in the text, the original number is used, a new number is not given.

Use last names to identify authors in parenthetical citations.  If a work has two authors, use both last names linked together with the word "and".

If a referenced work has more than two authors, use only the first author followed by the phrase "et al."


 Hervert and Lance 12 determined that....

 Vogt et al. 24 found ....

Sometimes the same first author publishes different papers on similar topics with different co-authors.  To reference multiple works by the same principle author use a phrase such as "and colleagues" or "and co-workers".


Brugh and co-workers 17, 23-25 established ....

References List is given at the conclusion of a work.  This list contains only the sources actually referenced or cited in the work.  If a source is consulted but not used or cited in a work, it is not listed in the References Cited section.  

Journal Article 

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3.  Title of Article.  Journal Abbreviation Year Volume, Inclusive Pagination.

 Ehara, Y.; Sakamot, K.; Marumo, Y. A method for forensic identificatin of  
          vegetable oil stains: Rapid analysis of carboxylic acids with methyl  
          esterfication using purge-and trap gas chromotography/mass spectrometry.  
          J. Foren. Sci. 2001, 46, 1462-1469.


Author 1; Author 2; etc.  Book Title; Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Inclusive Pagination.

Dodd, J.S.  The ACS Style Guide, 2nd. ed.; ACS: Washington, D.C., 1997,  173-229. 

Edited Volume 

Author 1; Author 2; etc.  Chapter Title. In Book Title; Editor 1,  
          Editor 2, etc., Eds.; Series Information (if any);Publisher: Place  
          of Publication, Year; Inclusive Pagination.

Adams, M.R; Garton, A., Eds;  Far-Ultraviolet Degredation of Selected  
          Polymers.  In Polymer Durability: Degredation, Stabilizatioon,  
          and Lifetime Prediction; Clough, R.L., Billingham, N.C.,  
          Gillen, K.T., Rds.;  Advances in Chemistry Series 249;  
          ACS: Washington, DC. 1996, 139-158.

Web Site 

Author (if any).  Title of Site. URL (accessed date). 

Peoples, D.C.  Resources for Chemistry 360 Instrumental Analysis. (September 2, 2002).