Citing Your Sources: ACS

The Williams Honor System requires you to properly acknowledge sources you have used in course assignments. This guide provides basic information on how to cite sources and examples for formatting citations in common citation styles.

ACS

About ACS Style

Developed by the American Chemical Society, this style may be used for research papers in the field of chemistry.

This guide provides examples of the most commonly cited types of sources used by Williams College students. For additional examples and explanations, see The ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication.

Each citation consists of two parts: the in-text citation, which provides brief identifying information within the text, and the reference list, a list of sources that provides full bibliographic information.

How to Format In-Text Citations

For more detailed information see ACS Style Guide, pp 287-290.

Select one of the three methods below to cite in-text references:

  • At the end of the cited information:

    Fluoridated water as well as various fluroide products such as toothpaste provide fluoride ions necessary for remineralization.¹

  • Within the cited information:

    Rakita¹ states that fluroidated water as well as various fluoride products such as toothpaste provide fluoride ions necessary for remineralization.

  • At the end of the cited information:

    Fluoridated water as well as various fluoride products such as toothpaste provide fluoride ions necessary for remineralization (1).

  • Within the cited information:

    Rakita (1) states that fluoridated water as well as various fluoride products such as toothpaste provide fluoride ions necessary for remineralization.

Note: for two authors, use "and": Rakita and Smith. For more than two authors use "et al.": Rakita et al.

  • At the end of the cited information:

    Fluoridated water as well as various fluoride products such as toothpaste provide fluoride ions necessary for remineralization (Rakita, 2004).

  • Within the cited information:

    Rakita states that fluoridated water as well as various fluoride products such as toothpaste provide fluoride ions necessary for remineralization (2004).

How to Format Reference Lists

Formatting and Ordering the Reference List

For more information see: The ACS Style Guide, chapter 14, pp 325-326.

The reference list provides the full details on the sources you used in the research for your paper.

Each entry should include the following reference components:

  • Author or editor
  • Publication Date
  • Publication information

See the examples in the left navigation for the required elements for each type of source. Continue reading below for details on formatting each reference component and ordering the reference list.

Please note that the journal Biochemistry is an exception to many of these formatting rules. Ask a librarian for assistance in formatting reference lists for this journal.

General Guidelines
  • Start a new page for the references list.
  • Center or left-justify the word References on the page.
  • Use a hanging indent to correctly format your references list: indent all lines in a reference entry except for the first line.
Ordering the References List

The order of your references list depends on what kind of in-text citations you used: author-date, or numerical (parenthetical or superscript).

  • If you used numerical (parenthetical or superscript) in-text citations, put your references in numerical order.
  • If you used author-date in-text citations, order references in alphabetical order by last name of the first author. Keep in mind that "nothing precedes something."

    Brown, L.
    Brownfield, G.
    Browning, R.


Formatting of Reference Components

For more information see: ACS Style Guide, chapter 14.

  • Invert the names of all authors (the last name followed by initials).
  • Keep author names in the order they appear on the document.
  • Put semicolons between the names.

    Dillard, J. P.; Shen, L.
    Guastello, D.; Braun, S.; Gutierrez, J.; Johnston, K.; Olbinski, B.

 

  • For scholarly journals, put the year the work was published or produced in bold.

    Evans, D. A.; Fitch, D. M.; Smith, T. E.; Cee, V. J. Application of Complex Aldol Reactions to the Total Synthesis of Phorboxazole B. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2000, 122, 10033-10046.

  • For nonscientific magazines and newspapers, give the exact date of publication. Abbreviate the month, followed by the day of the month, a comma, the year, a comma, and the pagination. Do not bold the year.

    (Jan 2016, 2010, p H1.).

  • For books, do not bold the year of publication.

 

  • Journals
    • Capitalize the main words of titles and subtitles. Do not use quotation marks or italics.
    • Finish the component with a period.
    • Italicize journal titles. Abbreviate the journal title according to the Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index.

    Caruso, R. A.; Caruso, F. Multilayered Titania, Silica, and Laponite Nanoparticle Coatings on Polystyrene Colloidal Templates and Resulting Inorganic Hollow Spheres. Chem. Mater. 2001, 13, 400-409.

  • Books
    • Put the titles and subtitles of books in italics.
    • Finish the component with a semicolon.
    • Morris, R. The Last Sorcerers: The Path from Alchemy to the Periodic Table; Joseph Henry Press: Washington, DC, 2003; pp 145-158.

 

  • Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers
    • Put the volume number in italics, followed by a comma and pagination.
    • Caruso, R. A.; Caruso, F. Multilayered Titania, Silica, and Laponite Nanoparticle Coatings on Polystyrene Colloidal Templates and Resulting Inorganic Hollow Spheres. Chem. Mater. 2001, 13, 400-409.

    • If the periodical has issues as well as volumes, put the issue number in parentheses after the volume number, before the comma, and not in italics.
    • Mullin, R. Chem. Eng. News 2005, 83 (42), 7.

    • Where possible, indicate the complete page range in the pagination. Do not put commas or spaces in paginations.
    • 2-15

      11771-11779

  • Books
    • Include the name of the publisher, and the place and year of publication in book references.
      • Put publisher names in normal typeface, not italicized, bolded, or abbreviated. Follow them with a colon.
      • American Chemical Society

      • For items published in the US, give the city and state of publication. For items published outside the US, give the city and country, unless it is a major world city. Follow the place of publication with a comma.
      • Cambridge, MA,

        Chichester, U.K.,

        Dordrecht, Netherlands,

        Paris,

      • Put the year of publication in normal typeface, after the place of publication. Finish the component with a period at the end of a reference, or a semicolon if more information follows.
      • Gould, S. J. The Structure of Evolutionary Theory; Belknap Press: Cambridge, MA, 2002.

     


Order of Alphabetical References List

If you use author-date in-text citations, order your references list alphabetically by the last name of the first author. For multiple references with the same author or first author, list the single-author references first, then the two-author citations, and the group citations last.

  • Single-author: arrange chronologically (earliest one first)

    Hamilton, F. J. Biochemistry 2003, 42, 78-86.
    Hamilton, F. J. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2004, 52, 1622-1633.

  • Same author(s) and same date: arrange chronologically (as accurately as possible) and add lowercase letters a, b, c, immediately after the date in the parentheses.

    Hamilton, F. J. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2004a, 52, 1622-1633.
    Hamilton, F. J. J. Org. Chem. 2004b, 69, 298-306.

  • Same first author, but different co-authors: come after the single-author entries for the first author and then chronologically.

    Scarponi, T. M.; Moreno, S. P. Biochemistry 2002, 41, 345-360.
    Scarponi, T. M.; Adams, J. S. J. Pharm. Sci. 2003, 92, 703-712.

Alphabetize by first initial.

Moher, J.
Moher, M., & Feigenson, L.

 

Alphabetize by the first significant word; do not abbreviate name.

Moher, J.
National Institute of Mental Health.
Oliver, M. B.

 

Examples: Books, Chapters

General Guidelines

  • List authors by their last name, then a comma, then their first initial(s), e.g. Skinner, A.
  • Provide all the information you can find on a given item. Omit any pieces of a citation that do not apply to a particular item: for instance, the ACS Style Guide recommends providing series information and volume numbers, but don't worry about providing these for books that are not in a series or not multivolume works.

For more information see: ACS Style Guide, chapter 14, pp 300-305.


Book

Format

Author 1; Author 2; etc. Title of Book, Edition Number; Publisher: Location, Year; Volume number, pp Pages Used.

Examples

Chang, R. General Chemistry: The Essential Concepts, 12th ed.; McGraw-Hill: Boston, 2016.

Le Couteur, P.; Burreson, J. Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History; Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam: New York, 2003; pp 32-47.


E-Book

Format

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Book Title [Online]; Series Information (if applicable); Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Volume Number (if applicable), Pagination. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).

Example

Lo, K. K. Luminescent and Photoactive Transition Metal Complexes as Biomolecular Probes and Cellular Reagents [Online]; Springer: Berlin, 2015. https://librarysearch.williams.edu/permalink/f/s1eqoc/01WIL_ALMA51121331050002786 (accessed Jan 19, 2020).


Chapter in Book

Format

Author 1; Author 2; etc. Title of Chapter. In Title of Book, Edition Number; Series Information; Publisher: Location, Year; Volume number, pp Pages Used.

Example

Gbalint-Kurti, G. G. Wavepacket Theory of Photodissociation and Reactive Scattering. In Advances in Chemical Physics; Rice, S. A., Ed.; Wiley: New York, 2004; Vol. 128; p 257.


Edited Book

Format

Author 1; Author 2; etc. Chapter Title, In Book Title, Edition Number; Editor 1, Editor 2, etc., Eds.; Series Information (if any); Publisher: Location, Year; Volume Number, pp Pages Used.

Example

Holbrey, J. D.; Chen, J.; Turner, M. B.; Swatloski, R. P.; Spear, S. K.; Rogers, R. D. Applying Ionic Liquids for Controlled Processing of Polymer Materials. In Ionic Liquids in Polymer Systems: Solvents, Additives, and Novel Applications; Brazel, C. S., Rogers R. D., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 913; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2005; pp 71-88.


Book in Series

Format

Author 1; Author 2; etc. Title of Chapter. In Title of Book, Edition Number; Series Information; Publisher: Location, Year; Volume number, pp Pages Used.

Example

Goh, S. L. Polymer Chemistry in an Undergraduate Curriculum. In Introduction of Macromolecular Science/Polymeric Materials into the Foundational Course in Organic Chemistry; ACS Symposium Series 1151; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2013; pp 113-127.

Examples: Articles

General Guidelines

  • List authors' last names, followed by their initials. For multiple authors, place a semicolon between author names. 
  • Indent any lines beyond the first line of an entry. 
  • Use the Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index to correctly abbreviate scientific journal titles.

Print Journal Article

(ACS Style Guide, pp. 291-299 and pp. 317-319 for online articles)

For print scholarly articles, use one of the following formats: 

Format

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Title of Article. Journal Abbreviation YearVolume, Inclusive Pagination.

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Journal Abbreviation YearVolume, Inclusive Pagination.

Examples

Evans, D. A.; Fitch, D. M.; Smith, T. E.; Cee, V. J. Application of Complex Aldol Reactions to the Total Synthesis of Phorboxazole B. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2000, 122, 10033-10046.


Electronic Journal Article

For online scholarly articles found electronically, use the following format:

Format

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Title of Article. Journal Abbreviation [Online] Year, Issue, Inclusive Pagination. Complete URL (accessed Date).

For articles found through an electronic database, include the database name in the citation. Replace the article's URL with that of the database.

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Title of Article. Journal Abbreviation [Online], Date, Inclusive Pagination. Database Name. Complete URL of database (accessed Date).

For articles published online in advance of the print issue, use this format:

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Title of Article. Journal Abbreviation [Online early access]. DOI. Published Online: Date. Complete URL (accessed Date).

Examples

Peacock-Lopez, E. Exact Solutions of the Quantum Double Square-Well Potential. Chem. Ed. [Online] 200711, 383-393. http://chemeducator.org/bibs/0011006/11060383ep.htm (accessed Dec 6, 2018).

Begley, S. When Does Your Brain Stop Making New Neurons? Newsweek [Online] July 2, 2007, p 62. Expanded Academic Index. http:/galegroup.com (accessed Aug 23, 2007).

Chung, J.M. and Peacock-Lopez, E. Cross-diffusion in the Templator model of chemical self-replication. Phys. Lett. A [Online early access]. DOI:10.1016/j.physleta.2007.04.114. Published Online: June 12, 2007. http://www.sciencedirect.com (accessed Aug 23, 2007).


Magazine or Newspaper Article

For print nonscientific magazines and newspapers, use the following format: 

Format

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Title of Article. Title of Periodical, Complete Date, Pagination.

For newspapers, include "p." or "pp." before the page numbers. If the article appears on discontinuous pages, give all page numbers, separated by a comma. If retrieved online, include "Retrieved from" statement and the URL.

Examples

Manning, R. Super Organics. Wired, May 2004, pp 176-181.

 

Examples: Lab Manuals

Lab Manual

Cite lab manuals as you do books, including as much information as possible. For lab manuals authored by your instructor, use your instructor as the author and the university as the publisher.

Format

Author 1; Author 2; etc. Title of Book, Edition Number; Publisher: Location, Year; Volume number, pp Pages Used.

Examples

Bird, P. Chemistry 206 Laboratory Manual; Concordia University: Montreal, QC, 2010; p 21.

Examples: Reference Works

Reference Works

For more information, see the ACS Style Guide, pp 293t, 305-306, 320.

Reference sources sources, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and indexes, are important sources of information in the sciences.

  • As always, provide what information you can. For reference sources, the title of the work, the subtitle of the particular entry being cited, and the publication information is most important.
  • For online reference works, include a URL.
Format
Print Reference Works

Article Title. Title of Reference Work, Edition Information; Publisher: Location, Year; Volume, pp Pagination.

Online Reference Works

Article Title. Title of Work, edition [Online]; Publisher, Posted Online Posting Date. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).

Examples

Powder Metallurgy. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 3rd ed.; Wiley: New York, 1982; Vol. 19, pp 28-62.

Diagnostic Reagents. Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 5th ed.; VCH: Weinheim, Germany, 1985; Vol. A8, pp 455-491.

Alkanolamines from Nitro Alcohols. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology [Online]; Wiley & Sons, Posted March 14, 2003. http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/kirk/articles/alkaboll.a01/frame.html (accessed Nov 7, 2004).

Examples: Theses, Patents

Theses

For more information, see the ACS Style Guide, pp 309-310.

Format

The title of the thesis and location of the institution are preferred, but not absolutely required.

Author. Title of Thesis. Level of Thesis, Degree-Granting University, Location of University, Date of Completion.

Examples

Thoman, J. W., Jr. Studies of Molecular Deactivation: Surface-Active Free Radicals and S(O)para-difluorobenzene. Ph.D. Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 1987.

Gehring, A. Ph.D. Dissertation, Harvard University, 1998.


Patents

Format

Patent Owner 1; Patent Owner 2; etc. Title of Patent. Patent Number, Full Date.

Example

Diamond, G.; Murphy, V.; Leclerc, M.; Goh, C.; Hall, K.; LaPointe, A. M.; Boussie, T.; Lund, C. Coordination catalysts. US 20020002257 A1, January 3, 2002.

Examples: Conferences, Technical Reports

Conferences and Meetings

For more information, see the ACS Style Guide, pp 307-309.

Omit parts of the citation that do not apply: for example, not every conference proceeding will have assigned editors.

Format
Full Citation

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Title of Presentation. In Title of the Collected Work, Proceedings of the Name of the Meeting, Location, Full Date(s); Editor 1, Editor 2, etc., Eds.; Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Abstract Number, Pagination.

Abstract Only

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Title of Presentation. Title of the Collected Work, Proceedings of the Name of the Meeting, Location, Full Date(s); Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Abstract Number, Pagination.

Examples

Winstein, S. In University Chemical Education, Proceedings of the International Symposium on University Chemical Education, Frascati (Rome), Italy, October 16-19, 1969; Chisman, D. G.. Ed.; Butterworths: London, 1970.

Kaplan, L.J.; Selder, A. Books of Abstracts, 213th ACS National Meeting, San Francisco, CA, April 13-17, 1997; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1997; CHED-824.


Technical Reports and Bulletins

For more information, see the ACS Style Guide, p 314.

Format

Author 1; Author 2; etc. Title of Report or Bulletin; Technical Report or Bulletin Number; Publisher: Location, Date; Pagination.

Examples

Crampton, S.B.; McAllaster, D. R. Collision and Motional Averaging Effects in Cryogenic Atomic Hydrogen Masers; WMC-AFOSR-002; NTIS: Springfield, VA, 1983.

Examples: Web/Online, Computer Programs

Website

For more information, see the ACS Style Guide, pp 320-322.

For specific electronic resources, see the examples corresponding with the same print resources: for instance, for correct formatting of e-books, see the Books examples.

General Website
Format

Author, X (if any). Title of Site. URL (accessed Month Day, Year), other identifying information (if any).

Examples

National Library of Medicine. Environmental Health & Toxicology. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/enviro/index.html (accessed Feb 04, 2020).

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Home Page. http://www.iupac.org/dhtml_home.html (accessed April 24, 2005).

Document Retrieved from Institutional or Agency Website
Format

Author 1; Author 2; etc. Title of Document, Year. Title of Site. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).

Examples

Adrian, B.; Dooley, O.; Huang, C.; Levkowitz, M. Tackling Bed Bugs: A Starter Guide for Local Government, 2016. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Web site. http://npic.orst.edu/pest/bedbug/tacklingbbstarterguide.pdf (accessed Nov 19, 2010).


Computer Program

For more information, see the ACS Style Guide, pp 323-325.

Format

Author 1; Author 2; etc. Program Title, version or edition; Publisher: Location, Year.

If particular data are referenced, include the data entry number or other identifying information at the end of the citation.

Examples

Binkley, J. S. GAUSSIAN82, version 1982; Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University: Pittsburgh, PA, 1982.

SciFinder Scholar, version 2007; Chemical Abstracts Service: Columbus, OH, 2007; RN 58-08-2 (accessed Aug 23, 2007).

Need More Info?

What Needs to be Cited?

  • Exact wording taken from any source, including freely available websites
  • Paraphrases of passages
  • Summaries of another person's work
  • Indebtedness to another person for an idea
  • Use of another student's work
  • Use of your own previous work

You do not need to cite common knowledge.