Writing and Communication Center

CSE Formatting

CSE style, formerly called CBE style, refers to the citation style established by the Council of Science Editors. CSE is the format preferred by writers in many disciplines in the natural sciences, including biology, geology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. CSE style provides two different citation systems: the Name-Year system and the Citation-Sequence system (sometimes called the Superscript system). These systems differ in their presentation of in-text citations and in the way works cited are listed.

On this page:

CSE Style: In-text Citations (Name-Year System)

In the Name-Year system, citations are provided in the main text through parenthetical citations. Citations precede the final punctuation of the sentence that contains the reference. The basic elements of the in-text citation are the author's last name and the year of publication of the work. A space separates the name and the year.

The name-year format calls for the last name of the author and the year of publication in parentheses after any mention of a source. If the last name appears in a signal phrase, the name-year format allows for giving only the year of publication in parentheses.


VonBergen provides the most complete discussion of this phenomenon (2003).

Hussar's two earlier studies of juvenile obesity (1995, 1999) examined only children with diabetes.

The classic examples of such investigations (Morrow 1968; Bridger and others 1971; Franklin and Wayson 1972) still shape the assumptions of current studies.

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CSE Author/Authors

Book with one author

List the last name first, followed by first and middle initials, followed by the publication year. Separate the name and year with a period. After the title, give the place of publication and the name of the publisher.


Gore A. 2006. An inconvenient truth: The planetary emergency of global warming and what we can do about it. Emmaus (PA): Rodale.

Book with two to ten authors

List the authors in the order in which they appear on the title page. For a work with two to ten authors, list all the authors. Separate the names with a comma.


Randall D, Burggren W, French K, Eckert R. 2002. Animal physiology: mechanisms and adaptations. New York: WH Freeman.

Longini IM Jr, Halloran ME, Nizam A, Yang Y. 2004. Containing pandemic influenza with antiviral agents. Am J Epidemiol. 159(7):623-633.

Sources with eleven or more authors:

Commas separate author names. If there are more than ten authors, list the first ten, then "et al.," which stands for "and others."

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CSE Reference List

The Reference page lists the bibliographic information for all the sources that you cited in your paper. These examples follow the instructions outlined in the Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 7th ed. (2006). This handout contains examples of the most commonly used types of sources used in the sciences.

CSE provides no guidelines for formatting a reference list in the name-year system in a student paper, but you can use a hanging indent for readability: Type the first line of each entry flush left, and indent any additional lines one-half inch.

  • The reference list should begin on a new page titled “References” or “Cited References” (with no quotation marks, underlining, etc.), centered at the top of the page. It should be double-spaced just like the rest of your paper. The examples here are shown single-spaced in order to conserve paper.
  • Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the first word of each entry (typically the author’s last name).
  • Use initials for authors’ first and middle names.
  • Do not underline or italicize titles.
  • Abbreviate journal titles and publisher names.
  • Only works cited in your paper should appear in the reference list.

Reference list guidelines and examples

Edition other than the first:

Include the number of the edition after the title.

Mai J, Paxinos G, Assheuer J. 2004. Atlas of the human brain. 2nd ed. Burlington
       (MA): Elsevier.

Two works by same author:

If you have more than one source by the same author, list in order by the year of publication, starting with the earliest. If the years of publication are also the same, differentiate by including a letter with the year, as follows:

Sanford E. 1999. Regulation of keystone predation by small changes in ocean
       temperature. Science 283:2095-2097.

Sanford E. 2002a. Water temperature, predation, and the neglected role of
       physiological rate effects in rocky intertidal communities. Integr Comp Biol

Sanford E. 2002b. The feeding, growth, and energetics of two rocky intertidal
       predators (Pisaster ochraceus and Nucella canaliculata) under water
       temperatures simulating episodic upwelling. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol

Article or chapter in an edited volume:

Begin with the name of the author and the title of the article or chapter. Then write “In:” and name the editor or editors, followed by a comma and the word “editor” or “editors.” Place the title of the book and publication information next. End with the page numbers on which the article or chapter appears.

Kuret JA, Murad F. 1990. Adenohypophyseal hormones and related substances.
       In: Gilman AG, Rall TW, Nies AS, Taylor P, editors. The pharmacological
       basis of therapeutics. 8th ed. New York: Pergamon. p 1334−60.

Article in a magazine:

Provide the year, month, and day (for weekly publications), followed by the page numbers of the article.

Losos JB. 2001 Mar. Evolution: A lizard's tale. Sci Am. 284(3): 64-69.

Article in a journal:

After the author(s), year, and the title of the article, give the journal title, the volume number, the issue number if there is one (in parentheses), and the page numbers on which the article appears.

Cox J, Engstrom RT. 2001. Influence of the spatial pattern of conserved lands
       on the persistence of a large population of red- cockaded woodpeckers.
       Biol Conserv. 100(1): 137-150.

Article in a newspaper:

After the name of the newspaper, give the edition name in parentheses, the section letter (or number), the page number, and the column number.

Yoon CK. 2000 Dec 26. DNA clues improve outlook for red wolf. New York
       Times. Sect. F:10 (col. 1).

Article with a corporate author:

When a work has a corporate author, begin with the authoring organization, year, followed by the article title, journal title, and all other publication information. In the name-year system, a familiar abbreviation for an organization is given in brackets at the beginning of the entry, which is used for in-text citations: (ICMJE 2004).

[ICMJE] International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. 2004. Clinical
       trial registration: a statement from the International Committee of Medical
       Journal Editors. JAMA. 292(11):1363-1364.

Electronic Sources

CSE guidelines for Web sites and subscription services require publication information as for books: city, publisher, and publication date. This information can usually be found on the home page of a Web site and in a copyright link in a subscription service. Include an update date if one is available and your date of access. Do not use a period at the end of a URL unless the URL ends in a slash.

Home page of a website:

Begin with the author, whether an individual or an organization. Include the title of the home page (if it is different from the author’s name), followed in brackets by the word “Internet.” Provide the place of publication, the publisher (or the site’s sponsor), and the date of publication. Include the copyright date if no date of publication is given or if the publication date and the copyright date are different: 2010, c2009. Include in brackets the date the page was last modified or updated and the date you accessed the site: [modified 2009 Mar 14; cited 2010 Feb 3]. Use the phrase “Available from:” followed by the URL.

American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy [Internet]. Milwaukee (WI):
       The Society; c2000-2010 [modified 2010 Jan 8; cited 2010 Jan 16]. Available
       from: http://www.asgt.org/.

Article in an online periodical:

Begin with the name of the author and the title of the article. Include the name of the journal, followed by the word “Internet” in brackets. Give the date of publication or the copyright date. Include in brackets the date the article was updated or modified, if any, and the date you accessed it, followed by a semicolon. Then provide the volume, issue, and page numbers. If the article is unpaginated, include in brackets the number or an estimated number of pages, screens, paragraphs, lines, or bytes. Write “Available from:” and the URL.

Isaacs FJ, Blake WJ, Collins JJ. Signal processing in single cells. Science
       [Internet]. 2005 Mar 25 [cited 2009 Jun 17];307(5717): 1886-1888. Available
       from: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/307/5717/1886.


CSE recommends not including personal communications such as e-mail in the reference list. A parenthetical note in the text usually suffices: (2010 e-mail to me; unreferenced).

Other Sources (print and online)

The advice in this section refers to the print versions of the following sources, but in each case an example is also given for an online version.

Government report:

Begin with the name of the agency and, in parentheses, the country of origin if it is not part of the agency name. Next include the title of the report, a description of the report (if any), the place of publication, the publisher, and the date of publication. Give any relevant identifying information, such as a document number, and then the phrase “Available from:” followed by the name, city, and state of the organization that makes the report available or the URL for an online source.


National Institute on Drug Abuse (US). Inhalant abuse. Research Report Series.
       Bethesda (MD): National Institutes of Health (US); 2005 Mar. NIH Pub.
       No.: 00–3818. Available from: National Clearinghouse on Alcohol and Drug
       Information, Rockville, MD 20852.


National Institute on Drug Abuse (US). Inhalant abuse [Internet]. Research
       Report Series. Bethesda (MD): National Institutes of Health (US); 2005
       Mar [cited 2005 Jun 23]; [about 13 screens]. NIH Pub. No.: 00-3818.
       Available from: http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Inhalants


In the name-year system, begin with the abbreviation of the organization, if any, in brackets. (You will use the abbreviation in your in-text citations.) Use the complete name of the organization when you alphabetize the reference list.

[NIDA] National Institute on Drug Abuse (US). 2005 Mar. Inhalant abuse. . .

Report from a private organization 

Begin with the name of the sponsoring organization. Next include the title of the report, a description of the report, the place of publication, the publisher, the year and month of publication, and the product number (if any).


American Cancer Society. Cancer facts and figures for African Americans
       2005-2006. Report. Atlanta (GA): The Society; 2005.


American Cancer Society. Cancer facts and figures for African Americans
       2005-2006 [report on the Internet]. Atlanta (GA): The Society; 2005 [cited
       2005 Jun 23]; [535K bytes]. Available from:http://www.cancer.org/downloads

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CSE Handout

Most of your questions answered on the printable handout.

St. Martin's: CSE Sample Paper

Duke: Additional CSE Resources

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