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Chemistry: Cite Sources in ACS Style

ACS Style Guide

Access the ACS Style Quick Guide Online

The ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication (2020) is the most recent style guide, replacing the 3rd edition (2006) of the ACS Style Guide. For example references, see:

Access the 3rd Ed. ACS Style Guide

You can access the print version at the Geisel Library Reference desk. Chapter 14 is about formatting references, and information on citing periodicals (journals) starts on page 291.

Collect & Format Citations with EndNote

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EndNote is a program that allows you to:

  • Export, collect, and organize citations from our research databases.
  • Automatically create in-text citations and bibliographies in the style of your choosing (ASA, MLA, APA, etc.)
  • To download EndNote on your computer (for either PC or Mac), go to the IT Help Desk in Geisel Library.

EndNote Web is the online, cloud-based version and has fewer features.‚Äč To set up your online account, visit the EndNote Web website from any on-campus computer.

For help with EndNote features, see our User's Guide:

ACS Reference Guidelines and Examples

Journal Article Citation Format & Example

*Items in red to be included for articles read in an online format. See page 318 of the ACS Style Guide for more guidance and examples.

Format:

Author, A. B.; Author, C. D., Jr.; Author, E. F. Title of Article. Journal Abbreviation [Online] Year, Volume, Inclusive Pagination. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).

Example:

Chanteau, S. H.; Tour, J. M. Synthesis of Anthropomorphic Molecules: The NanoPutians. J. Org. Chem [Online]2003, 68, 8750–8766. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jo0349227 (accessed Jan 14, 2019).

Explanation:
  • Author(s): List last name, then first and middle initials, then any qualifiers (such as Jr., II, etc.). Author names are separate by semicolons.
  • Title of Article: Article title isn't required, but it's helpful of course for seeing what the article is about.
  • Journal Abbreviation: Use the abbreviation for the journal title and italicize it. See the Journal Abbreviations box for help finding the proper abbreviation for the journal you're citing.
  • Year: The year, including the comma after it, is in bold.
  • Volume: Italicize the volume number. Include the issue number after it in parentheses if each issue starts with page 1 rather than at the page number the last issue left off at.
  • Inclusive Pagination: It's acceptable to include just the first page number, but preferable to include the full page range.

See pages 291-299 of the ACS Style Guide for more guidance and examples.

Website Citation Format & Example

Format:

At minimum, include:

  • Webpage title
  • URL
  • Date accessed
  • Author, if listed
Example:

Nitrile to Acid. http://commonorganicchemistry.com/Rxn_Pages/Nitrile_to_Acid/ Nitrile_to_Acid_Index.htm (accessed July 2, 2018).

See pages 320-321 of the ACS Style Guide for more guidance and examples.

In-Text Citation Format & Example

In ACS, in-text citations can be formatted in one of three ways:

  • Superscripts at the end of the phrase or sentence.1
  • Italic numbers in parentheses in the sentence (2).
  • Author and year in parentheses (author-date format) in the sentence (Lastname et al., 2018).

See pages 287-290 of the ACS Style Guide for more guidance and examples.

See examples of in-text citations here:

Reference List

  • Begin it on its own page with the heading "References."
  • Order and number your references in the order you cite them in your paper, or alphabetize by author if using the author-date format. See pages 325-326 of the ACS Style Guide for more guidance on ordering references.
  • Use a hanging indent on references that are more than one line.

More Online ACS Quick Examples

The following websites have examples and guidance on how to properly format citations in ACS style.  However, some ACS guidelines are open to interpretation, so it's always good to check ACS's guidelines when citing your references.

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Journal Abbreviations

Journal titles must be abbreviated in ACS citations.

Why is it important to correctly cite sources?

Citing or documenting the sources used in your research serves two purposes.

1) It gives proper credit to the authors of the words or ideas that you incorporated into your paper.

2) It allows those who are reading your work to locate your sources, in order to learn more about the ideas that you cite.

Citing your sources consistently and accurately helps you avoid committing plagiarism in your writing.