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ACS (American Chemical Society) Style – Quick Guide

This web guide is based on the second edition of  The ACS Style Guide: A  Manual for Authors and Editors (1997).  For a more thorough discussion refer to The ACS Style Guide which is available at both the Chemistry and Engineering Libraries (Call number QD8.5.A25 1997 Reference Section). 

Citing References in the Body of a Paper
References in the body of a paper can be cited: 
  • By number (italics)  

  • The synthesis of the compound has been described previously (1)
  • By superscript 

  • The synthesis of the compound has been described previously.1
  • By author name and date 

  • The synthesis of the compound has been described previously (Johnson, 1902). 
With numerical citations, references should be numbered sequentially.  If a reference is repeated, do not give it another number; rather, use the original reference number. 

With author name citations, use both names if a reference has two authors (Jones and Smith, 2002).  If there are more than two authors, use the first name followed by “et al.” (Harris et al., 2001). 

Creating a Bibliography

  • Arrange the references in your bibliography based on the method used for in-text citations.  If numerical citations were used, then arrange references at the end of the paper numerically.  If author names were used, arrange alphabetically. 
  •  All references end with a period. 
  •  Do not leave blank lines between references. 
  •  Journal article titles and book chapter titles are not essential, but they are considered desirable. 
  •  If a book as a whole is used, pagination is not necessary. 

Book with Author(s)
Basic Format:
Author, A. A.; Author, B. B. Book Title (italics), Edition (if any);  Publisher: Place of  Publication, Year;  Page numbers. 


Dill, K. A.; Bromberg, S. Molecular Driving Forces: Statistical Thermodynamics in Chemistry and Biology;  Garland Science: New York, 2003. 
Engel, R; Cohen, J. I. Synthesis of Carbon-Phosphorus Bonds: New Methods of Exploration; CRC Press: Boca  Raton, FL, 2004; pp 54-56. 
Zumdahl, S. S. Chemical Principles, 4th ed.; Houghton Mifflin: Boston, MA, 2002;  p 7. 

Book  with Editor(s), and Entire Book  is Referenced
Basic Format: 
Editor, A. A., Editor, B. B., Editor, C. C., Eds. Book Title (italics);  Series Information (if any, including series number); Publisher: Place of Publication, Year. 


Lin, Q., Pearson, R. A., Hedrick, J. C., Eds. Polymers for Microelectronics and Nanoelectronics;  ACS Symposium Series 874; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2004. 
Zaikov, G. E., Jimenez, A., Eds. Quantitative Level of Chemical Reactions; Nova Science Publishers: New York, 2003. 

Authored Chapters in a Book with Editor(s)
Basic Format: 
Author, A. A.; Author, B. B. Chapter Title. In Book Title (italics);  Editor, A. A., Editor, B. B., Eds.; Series Information (if any, including series number); Publisher: Place of  Publication, Year; Volume number (if any),  Page numbers. 


Downs, G. M.; Barnard, J. M. Clustering Methods and Their Uses in Computational Chemistry. In  Reviews in Computational Chemistry; Wiley: Hoboken, NJ, 2002; Vol. 18, p 11. 
Lenhart, J. L.; Fischer, D. A.; Sambasivan, S.; Lin, E. K.; Soles, M. A. Utilizing Near Edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure to Probe Interfacial Issues in Photolithography. In Polymers for Microelectronics and Nanoelectronics; Lin, Q., Pearson, R. A., Hedrick, J. C., Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 874; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2004; pp 98-117. 

Encyclopedia Article
Basic Format: 
Article Title. Encyclopedia Name (italics), Edition number [Online if online]; Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Volume Number, Page numbers. 


Psychopharmacological Agents. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 4th ed.; Wiley: New York, 1996; Vol. 20,  pp 455-457.

Stalactites and Stalagmites. AccessScience@McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 9th ed.[Online]; McGraw-Hill: New York; Last Modified: February 26, 2001.

Basic Format: 
Editor, A. A., Editor, B. B., Eds. Handbook Title (italics), Edition number [Online if online];  Publisher: Place of Publication, Year;  Page numbers or other identifying information. 


Budavari, S., O’Neil, M. J.,  Smith. A., Heckelman, P. E., Kinneary, J. F., Eds. The Merck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals, 13th ed.; Merck & Company: Whitehouse Station, NJ, 2001; entry 5066. 
Lide, D. R., Ed. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 84th ed. [Online]; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2003; p 83. 

Journal Articles
Basic Format: 
Author, A. A; Author, B. B; Author, C. C. Title of Article. Journal Abbreviation (italics) [Online if online] Year (boldface), Volume (italics), Page numbers. 


Borman, S. Protein Sequencing For The Masses. Chem. Eng. News [Online] 2004, 82, pp 22-23. 
Slunt, K. M.; Giancarlo, L. C. Student-Centered Learning: A Comparison of Two Different Methods of Instruction. J. Chem. Educ. 2004, 81, pp 985-988. 
Takahaski, T. The Fate of Industrial Carbon Dioxide. Science [Online] 2004, 305, 352-353. 

There is no need to include the URL of journal sites. The standard list of journal abbreviations is published in CASSI, the Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index.  A copy is kept at the Chemistry Library circulation/reference desk. This is an online source that has many of the journal abbreviations in CASSI. 

Basic Format: 
Last name, First Name; Last Name, First Name. Article Title. Newspaper Title (italics), Complete Date, Page numbers. 


Jones, Margot. Panel Urges NASA to Save Hubble Space Telescope. New York Times, July 16, 2004, p A1. 

Basic Format: 
Author, A. A. (if any). Title of Site. URL (accessed date), other identifying information. 


ChemFinder.Com.  http://chemfinder.cambridgesoft.com (accessed July 14, 2004). 
The Combined Chemical Dictionary database, web version 2004 (1); CRC Press: Boca Raton: FL (accessed  July 16, 2004). 

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Image showing cyano-bridged cluster of formula [(THF)18(H2O)6Ni9Re6(CN)48] exhibiting photoinduced changes in its paramagnetism by Jeffrey R. Long.