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A Guide To...Chemistry: Citng Sources

Research guide for chemistry

ACS Citation Help

Book with one editor

Gaito, J. Molecular Psychobiology: A Chemical Approach to Learning and Other Behavior; Thomas, 1966. 

Scientific Journal Article

Lewis, R.T.; Blackaby, W.P.; Blackburn, T.; Jennigs, A.S.R.; Pike, A.; Wilson, R.A.; Hallett, D.J.; Cook, S.M.; Ferris, Pushpinder; Marshall, G.R.; Reynolds, D.S.; Sheppard, W.F.A.; Smith, A.J.; Sohal, B.; Stanley, J.; Tye, S.J.; Wafford, K.A.; Atack, J.R. A Pyridazine Series of α2/α3 Subtype Selective GABAA Agonists for the Treatment of Anxiety. J. Med. Chem. 2009,49 (8), 2600-2610. doi:10.1021/jm051144x (accessed 20 Jan, 2022). 

Citing in Journal Styles

For most classes, you will probably use one of the major style manuals listed on the previous pages to format any citations or papers. 

However, some professors may ask you to instead use the style of a specific journal (for example, CELL or NEURON). These journal styles are often based on another established style, but contain specific variations which reflect the preferences of that specific journal and its editors. Because the style is unique to each journal, you will rarely find a published citation manual like you might come across for, e.g., APA or MLA style. 

So how do you follow a journal style? 

Journal styles are designed for the use of authors publishing in the journal and their editors. Therefore, the best place to find style guidance will be on the individual journal's website.  Most journals will have an area on their website dedicated to prospective authors, which will be titled something like Information for Authors (NEURON), For Authors or Author Instructions (CELL). You will typically find the information you need in a section with a title like "Manuscript Preparation," "Preparation of Specific Sections" or "Article Specifications."  Feel free to ask for help if you are unable to locate the appropriate style information. 

Be sure to pay attention to all of the details of the style guidelines. In addition to citation examples, this section of the website will usually include information about general rules for things like capitalization, handling sources with a large number of authors, properly executing in-text citations, etc. 

Citation Managers 

Once you are comfortable using a specific style format, you can also use a Citation Manager like RefWorks to cite in journal style. Most reference managers include the styles of many major (and some not-so-major) journals among the options available to you. 

Academic Honesty & Academic Integrity

Academic Honesty means being honest and ethical about the way that you do academic work. This includes citing and acknowledging when you borrow from the work of others. As Holy Cross students, you are required to follow the College's Academic Honesty policy. 

Excerpt from the College policy: 

"It is the responsibility of students, independent of the faculty’s responsibility, to understand the proper methods of using and quoting from source materials (as explained in standard handbooks such as The Little Brown Handbook and the Harbrace College Handbook), and to take credit only for work they have completed through their own individual efforts within the guidelines established by the faculty."


For more information and guidelines on Academic Honesty, visit the
 Academic Honesty & Academic Integrity Research Guide


What needs to be cited?
In addition to citing exact quotations from your sources, you need to cite any ideas or words that you did not think up yourself. You should always cite:

  • Anything you summarize from another source
  • Websites (even if there is no author listed)
  • Information you received from other people, such as information learned during interviews
  • Graphs, illustrations, and any other visual items you use in your work. (This includes images from websites.)
  • Video and audio recordings that you sample in your work.

Some things that you don't need to cite:

  • Your own life experiences or ideas
  • Your own results from lab or field experiments
  • Any artwork or media you have created yourself
  • “Common knowledge” (This is information that can be found undocumented in many places and is likely to be known by many people.)

When in doubt, cite!



From the Claremont Colleges Library's tutorial on Exploring Academic Integrity:


Good practices for taking notes:

  • Before writing a note, read the original text over until you understand the meaning.
  • Use quotation marks around any exact phrasing you use from the original source.
  • While you are taking your notes, record the source for each piece of information (including page numbers) in you notes so that you’ll be able to cite the source in your paper.

Use a variety of sources in your research. 
If you use only one source, you may end up using too many of that author’s ideas and words.


Plan ahead and leave yourself enough time to do your research and writing.
If you are rushing to finish your paper, you’ll be more likely to improperly cite things or to accidentally plagiarize.


RefWorks is a service called a citation manager.  It is designed to allow you to collect and organize references for all of your research, and then to compile those references into bibliographies. You can use RefWorks to import references from Holy Cross databases, or to input your own.  RefWorks is a product to which the College subscribes, so it is higher-quality and has more tools than most of the 'free' citation programs you will find on the web.  
Unlike most of our databases, you can continue to use and access RefWorks even after you graduate! 
For help using RefWorks, check out the guides linked below: