Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research 101: Library Research Basics

What is ACS?

What is ACS style?book cover for ACS style guide

  • A documentation style for writing and formatting scientific research papers including citing sources
  • Includes information about reviewing and submitting scientific manuscripts  
  • Created by the American Chemical Society
  • The ACS Style Guide contains comprehensive and explanations for proper scientific communication and style guidelines

Citing Your Sources in ACS Style

How to cite in ACS style

1. In-Text Citations

  • Use an in-text citation to acknowledge that you are quoting or paraphrasing another author's words, ideas or data in the text of your research paper.
  • Choose one of the following methods for citing references in-text:
    • Add a superscript number at the end of the text being cited
    • Use an italic number in parentheses at the end of the text being cited
    • ​Put author’s name and resource publication date in parentheses at the end of the text being cited
  • For numerical in-text citations, assign one number to each source, in the order they are referenced in your paper.

2. References List

  • Include a reference list at the end of your paper. The list should begin on a new page and contain a full citation for each in-text citation referenced within your paper.
  • Each full citation should include the specific publication information required by the American Chemical Society rules. This allows your reader to find the sources, if desired.
  • If you used superscript or italic numbers for your in-text citations, arrange your reference list in numerical order.
  • If you used author's name and date for your in-text citations, arrange your reference list alphabetically by the last name of the author.

Reference List Citation Examples for Common Source Types

Books

Basic Format:

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

Example:

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

E-Books

Basic Format:

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Book Title [Online]; Series Information; Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Volume Number, Pages Used.
     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).

Magazine or Newspaper Articles

Basic Format:

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

Example:

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

  • 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" and the URL.

Scholarly Journal Article (Accessed Online via Open Web)

Basic Format:

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

Example:

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).

Scholarly Journal Article (Accessed via Library Database)

Basic Format:

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

Example:

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).

Scholarly Journal Article (Accessed in Print)

Basic Format:

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

Example:

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.

Website

Basic Format:

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

Example:

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

ACS Style Manual in the Library