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.

ACS Style Guide

How to cite sources using the style of the American Chemical Society

In-Text Citations

References in the text should be cited in one of three ways:

  • by an italic number
  • or by superscript number
  • or by author name and date

References should be numbered sequentially.  If a reference is cited more than once, it does not receive a new number.  If citing more than one reference at a time, include reference numbers in increasing order separated by commas.

Italic Number Example:    …preparing N-(p-nitroaryl)amides (2).
Author Name and Date Example:    …preparing N-(p-nitroaryl)amides (Stern and Cheng, 1995).

Reference Lists

The bibliography, or reference list, appears at the end of the paper in alphabetical order if cited by author and date or in numerical order if cited by numbers.  Different reference formats (book vs. journal vs. website) have different rules for citation.  See below for some common format examples.

Books and Book Chapters

NOTE: The minimum required information for a book: author or editor, book title, publisher, and year of publication. Some ACS publications include the chapter title in book references, while others do not. Check with the publication itself. Using the word “In” signifies the primary author(s) wrote only part of the book, not the entire book. Include the DOI if there is one.

Anastas, P. T.; Warner, J. C. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice; Oxford University Press, 1998.

Asmus, K. D. Recent Aspects of Thiyl and Perthiyl Free Radical Chemistry. In Active Oxygens, Lipid Peroxides, and Antioxidants; Yagi K., Ed.; Japan Scientific Societies, 1993; pp 57-67.

Journal Article

NOTE: The minimum required information for a journal: author, abbreviated journal title, year, and DOI. Article title should be included but may not be required for all publishers. Include volume/issue numbers and pagination if available.

Journal abbreviation and volume are italicized. Year of publication is bolded. Use CASSI (Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index) to find standard journal abbreviations.

Deno, N.; Richey, H.; Liu, J. S.; Lincoln, D. N.; Turner, J. Carbonium Ions. XIX. The Intense Conjugation in Cyclopropyl Carbonium Ions.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1965, 87, 4533-4538. DOI: 10.1021/ja00948a024

Lu, H.; Tournet, J.; Dastafkan, K.; Liu, Y.; Ng, Y.; Karuturi, S.; Zhao, C.; Yin, Z. Noble-Metal-Free Multicomponent Nanointegration for Sustainable Energy Conversion. Chem Rev. 2021 121 (17), 10271-10366. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.0c01328

Website

NOTE: The minimum required information for a website: the site title, URL, and date accessed.  Include the author name if one is listed.  Add “Home Page” to website titles as needed.

ACS Publications Division Home Page. http://pubs.acs.org (accessed 2021-09-14).

Freudenrich, C. How Lead Works. http://science.howstuffworks.com/lead.htm (accessed 2020-05-21).

SDS - Safety Data Sheets

Note: Minimum required data includes: chemical name as written on the SDS, assigned SDS number by publisher, company name and location, date issued. Include the CAS Registry Number if possible. 

SDS from Company
Titanium Dioxide; CAS RN 13463-67-7; SDS No. T3627; Mallinckrodt Baker: Phillipsburg, NJ, November 12, 2003. http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/t3627.htm (accessed 2020-10-20).

SDS obtained from a database source such as CCOHS
Titanium Dioxide; CAS RN 13463-67-7; SDS No. T3627; Mallinckrodt Baker: Phillipsburg, NJ, November 12, 2003. Retreived from Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Web Service. https://ccohs.org/3627 (accessed 2020-03-22).

Newspaper

NOTE: The minimum required information for a newspaper article: author, article title, newspaper title, newspaper location, and publication date. Include pagination or URL if available.

Strobel, W. P. World Leaders, Activists Criticize U.S. on Environment, Development. Washington Post (Washington D.C), September. 4, 2002, p 12.

Patent

NOTE: The minimum required information for a patent: inventor name, patent title, patent number, and year of publication. 

Stern, M. K.; Cheng, B. K. M. Process for Preparing N-(p-nitroaryl)amides via Reaction of Nitrobenzene with Nitriles. US 5380946, 1995.

Thesis

NOTE: The minimum required information for a thesis is author, title, degree awarded, institution name and location, and year of publication.

Enander, R. T. Lead Particulate and Methylene Chloride Risks in Automotive Refinishing. Ph.D. Thesis, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 2001.