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CSE (Council of Science Editors) Citation Guide: Formatting Guide

CSE Format

Please check with your instructor about their requirements for the format of your paper (i.e., font, line spacing, headers, etc.). In CSE, there is no standard format to follow as science writers are typically submitting papers to journals and must follow the journal's standards for formatting.  

However, here are some guidelines for citations:

Organization of the reference list is determined by which documentation system you are using. If you are using citation-sequence, list the citation in the numerical order that it appears in the text.  In the citation-name system, first alphabetize all the citations by authors’ last names, then number them in the text by the order they appear in the list of references. For the name-year system, the citations are alphabetized by authors’ last names.  

All lines are flush with the left margin, no hanging indentations are used.
• Authors’ last names are listed first, then the first and middle initial (if given). No commas are used in between the last name and first initial. In addition, no periods are used in between initials. Example: Brown AC

Use all authors’ names if a work has up to ten authors listed. For a work with more than ten authors, list the first ten names followed by a comma and “et al.” Example:  Brown MW, Keats EJ, Willems M, Lowry L, Sachar L, Rylant C, Collins S, London J, Tolkien JR, Bang M, et al.

Titles of books and articles are not italicized, “placed within quotation marks”, or underlined. Only the first word of the title is capitalized, after that only proper names in the title are the only words to be capitalized.

Journal titles that consist of more than one word are abbreviated. All the words in the abbreviated title are capitalized.  For a searchable database of journal abbreviations visit CASSI (, American Chemical Society’s Source Index search tool. 

Do not end the citation with a period if you include the URL.

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Sample Paper in CSE Format (Citation-sequence)

Sample End Reference Pages