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Bio1B Help Pages

Citing Journal Articles

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Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is "the uncredited use (both intentional and unintentional) of somebody else's words or ideas." --from "Avoiding Plagiarism", The OWL at Purdue

According to UC Berkeley's Code of Student Conduct, Section V.102.01, plagiarism is academic misconduct, and is grounds for disciplinary sanctions, including a failing grade, suspension or dismissal from the University.

You probably know that:

  • copying a friend's homework,
  • paying someone to write a term paper for you,
  • or copying large sections of text and claiming it as your own work...

are all examples of plagiarism.

But did you also know that:

  • paraphrasing someone else's idea without giving credit is also plagiarism?
  • many professors use software that can help detect plagiarized material from the Web or other sources in students' assignments?
  • that academic misconduct cases at UC Berkeley have increased more than 250% over the last ten years?*

    *(UCB Center for Student Conduct)

Whenever you discuss someone else's ideas, their data, or the results of their research, you must cite that work! Citations are needed for paraphrases or quotations from another's work.

  • This statement needs a citation: "Prairie dogs impact the species richness of insect communities in grassland ecosystems."
  • This statement does not: "The theory of evolution via the process of natural selection is one of the underpinnings of modern biology."

Information that's common knowledge does not need a citation. But how do you know if it's common knowledge? One simple rule applies: When in doubt, cite it!

Students are caught plagiarizing and cheating on this assignment and term papers in Bio 1B every semester. This usually results in course failure and a letter placed in the student’s file which will be shared with graduate program application materials.


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Citing Articles

Why do you need to cite your sources?

Citations fulfill several functions:

  • They give proper credit to the work others have done.
  • They allow readers of your work to find the sources you've used.
  • They show that you have appropriately incorporated the scientific literature in the area you're writing about into your own work.

Basic elements of journal article citations:

  1. Author name(s)
  2. Publication year
  3. Article title
  4. Journal title
  5. Volume number
  6. Issue number
  7. Page numbers or article number (for online-only articles)
  8. For online articles: URL or DOI (not required for all citation styles)
    What is a DOI?
    Find an article using a DOI

Citation Styles

There are hundreds of different citation styles. Here is the same citation formatted in three different scientific citation styles. Note how the different styles order, format, and punctuate the elements of the citation:

Council of Science Editors, 7th edition:
Osterrieder A. 2013. The value and use of social media as communication tool in the plant sciences. Plant Methods 9:26.

The journal Nature:
Osterrieder, A. The value and use of social media as communication tool in the plant sciences. Plant Methods 9, 26 (2013).

The journal Science:
A. Osterrieder, The value and use of social media as communication tool in the plant sciences. Plant Methods. 9, 26 (2013).

Citation style for the Bio 1B library assignment:

The citation style for the Bio 1B Library Assignment is based on (but not identical to) the style of the journal Bioscience. Citations for the assignment should follow the format given below.

Please note: In the citations for this assignment:

  • The date of publication should not include the month or day
  • For journal names, do not include the name of the city of publication

Generic citation:

Author last name Author first initial Author middle initial(s). Publication year. Article title. Journal title Volume(Issue): Page numbers. DOI

Journal article, three authors or fewer:

Smith RF, Alexander LC, Lamp WO. 2009. Dispersal by terrestrial stages of stream insects in urban watersheds: A synthesis of current knowledge. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 28(4): 1022-1037. doi:10.1899/08-176.1

Journal article, more than three authors:

Mueller GM, Wu Q, Huang Y, et al. 2001. Assessing biogeographic relationships between North American and Chinese macrofungi. Journal of Biogeography 28(2): 271-281. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2699.2001.00540.x

Journal article with subtitle, no issue number:

Koehl MAR, Strother JA, Reidenbach MA, et al. 2007. Individual-based model of larval transport to coral reefs in turbulent, wave-driven flow: Behavioral responses to dissolved settlement inducer. Marine Ecology Progress Series 335: 1-18. doi:10.3354/meps335001

Journal article published online only, with an article number rather than page numbers:

Ali-Murthy Z, Lott SE, Eisen MB, et al. 2013. An essential role for zygotic expression in the pre-cellular Drosophila embryo. PLoS Genetics 9(4): e1003428. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003428

Osterrieder A. 2013. The value and use of social media as communication tool in the plant sciences. Plant Methods 9: 26. doi:10.1186/1746-4811-9-26

Article title ending with a question mark or exclamation point:

Grimaldo LF, Sommer T, Van Ark N, et al. 2009. Factors affecting fish entrainment into massive water diversions in a tidal freshwater estuary: Can fish losses be managed? North American Journal of Fisheries Management 29(5): 1253-1270. doi:10.1577/M08-062.1

There are a number of style manuals, some designed especially for bioscience literature, located in the Bioscience Library’s reference area and on the web.

Read more about styles:


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Citing Web Pages

Basic elements of web citations:

  • Author name (may be an organization)
  • Publication year
  • Page title
  • Date you retrieved the web page
  • URL for specific page

Association/society sites:

[AAMC] Association of American Medical Colleges. 1995-2012. (5 June 2012;

Online document available on university program or department website:

Chou L, McClintock R, Moretti F, et al. 2003. Technology and Education: New Wine in New Bottles: Choosing Pasts and Imagining Educational Futures. (5 June 2012;

Page from a website, no author identified, no date:

The Talk.Origins Archive: Must-read FAQs. (5 June 2012;

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Creating Bibliographies with RefWorks

What's RefWorks?

  • RefWorks is a web-based software application that offers a way to collect, store, and manage references easily.
  • RefWorks helps you keep track of references you've collected for papers and projects.
  • RefWorks works with Microsoft Word (and other word processing programs) to easily create bibliographies for your papers with just a few clicks, with hundreds of different citation styles to choose from!
  • RefWorks is free for UCB students, faculty, and staff. The UCB Libraries have purchased a site license to RefWorks.

Sign up for a free account, and manage your references and format bibliographies with just a few clicks. 

Learn more about RefWorks

Not finding what you need? Contact a librarian!
Please visit us at the Reference Desk between 1 - 5 pm Monday-Friday, or call us at (510) 642-0456. Or, send us an email. We're here to help!

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