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Citation Assistance Resource Guide: CSE-8 Citation Style

The Council of Science Editors (CSE) 8th edition is a citation style used in the physical and life sciences fields. There are three distinct systems of creating citations in the CSE style: Name-Year, Citation-Sequence, and Citation-Name. This guide will only focus on the Name-Year style of CSE. 

Additional Resources

Abbreviating Journal Titles

CSE includes some specific guidelines for abbreviating journal titles, which stem from the original need to conserve space in printed publications. The CSE manual includes a section dedicated to creating correct abbreviations (Appendix 29), but here are some additional resources you can use to help you create your abbreviations:

Following the Name-Year format of CSE, all citations in the reference list will be arranged in alphabetical order by the author's last name. In-text citations will include the author's last name and the date of publication in parentheses. 

In general, your references will include the following components (if they are available from the source):

Books and monographs:

  • Author(s) or Editor(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Title
  • Content or medium designator
  • Edition
  • Secondary author(s) (Translators, editors, illustrators, etc.)
  • Place of Publication
  • Publisher
  • Page range 
  • Series (if applicable)

Journal and Newspaper Articles:

  • Author(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Article title
  • Content or medium designator
  • Journal or newspaper title (normally abbreviated in the citation)
  • Volume
  • Issue
  • Page range

Online Sources:

Electronic sources are cited similarly to their print counterparts, with the inclusion of: 

  • Date the document was last modified/updated (if available)
  • Date you accessed it
  • The URL and/or DOI number

In-Text Citations

In-Text citations are the shorter versions of the complete citation found in the Reference List at the end of the paper. They are used within the body of your paper any time you are referencing information from a source. Using in-text citations allows the reader to pinpoint what source you are gathering your information from, and it helps avoid plagiarism by providing credit where credit is due. 

In the CSE citation style, in-text citations appear in parentheses directly after the information that is being cited, which means it may appear in the middle of a sentence or at the end of a sentence. In text citations include the author’s name and the publication date.

Example #1:

The rapid discovery of the unique mechanisms underlying crown gall disease demonstrated how quickly an area could advance given significant investment and competition (Zambryski 1988).

For sources that have two authors, include both of their names in the parenthetical citation.

Example #2:

Initial infection of tubers by H. solani occurs in the field either from the seed tuber (Jellis and Taylor 1977) or soil (Merida and Loria 1994).

For sources with three or more authors, only list the first author’s name followed by “et al.”

Example #3:

For example, terrestrial carbon can play a central role in supporting lake food webs (Pace et al. 2004), while the problem of aquatic ecosystem eutrophication is driven by urban and agricultural land use that contributes nutrients to downstream aquatic systems (Carpenter et al. 1998).

The CSE citation style does not have specific guidelines for citing a direct quotation because they are most often not used in scientific writing. However, they do advise if you are using a direct quote to also include page numbers in the in-text citation. 

Example #4:

“These results clearly contradict those published in 2004 by the Smith lab.” (Jones 2008, p. 56).

CSE also does not advise using indirect quotes (when you are quoting a person/information that is found in another source). They instead advise to try and find the original source. If the original source cannot be found and an indirect quote/citation needs to be used, you will cite the secondary source. The original can be acknowledged in the text, but only include the secondary source in your reference list. 

Here is an example of what an indirect in-text citation would look like: (Rawls 1971, cited in Brown 2008)

Here is an example of what the reference list citation would look like, which would only include the secondary source: Brown PG. 2008. The Commonwealth of Life: Economics for a Flourishing Earth. 2nd ed. Montreal (QC): Black Rose Books.


Journal Title Abbreviations

All journal titles in CSE citations should be abbreviated. This was originally done to help save space in printed publications, but is still utilized today. A full list of guidelines for abbreviating titles can be found in the CSE handbook (Appendix 29.1), but here is a short list of some of the rules to keep in mind: 

Titles with only one word are not abbreviated, with some exceptions. 

A journal titled Science would remain Science in the citation; a Journal title Human would be shortened to Hum

If the full title is preceded by an acronym, use the acronym as the journal title. If the full title is followed by an acronym, the full title is abbreviated.

JOP: Journal of the Pancreas. becomes JOP

The American Journal of Bioethics: AJOB. becomes Am J Bioeth

Single syllable words or words with 5 or fewer letters are not abbreviated.

Blood Cells would remain Blood Cells

All punctuation is omitted from the abbreviation, as well as any articles, prepositions, or conjunctions (unless part of a personal name or place). 

Advances in Geoscience becomes Adv Geosci

Abbreviation is preferred by truncation (at least the 2 final letters), but words may also be abbreviated by contraction.

Geological Survey of Finland Bulletin. becomes Geol Surv Finl Bull

Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry. becomes Heterocycl Chem

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Other Helpful Resources

CSE Style Guide. 2020. IRSC; [Date accessed 2020 23 July].

CSE Citation Style Examples. Date Unknown. Wayne State College; [Date accessed 2020 22 July].

Scientific Style and Format Citation Quick Guide. c2014. Univ Chi Press; [Date accessed 2020 22 July].