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CSE Citation Style Guide

General Style Guidelines

Name-Year (N-Y) System in CSE

CSE has three documentation systems which provide the same information, but in different formats:

  • Name-Year (N-Y) system: The author of the source and date of publication are placed in parentheses in the text, e.g., (Smith 2011). References are listed alphabetically in the Reference List. This system is very similar to APA style.

  • Citation-sequence (C-S) system: Each source cited in the paper is given a number the first time it appears in the text, e.g., 1. Anytime the source is referred to again, the text is marked with the same number. At the end of the paper, a list of references provides full publication information for each numbered source. Entries in the reference list are numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the paper.

  • Citation-name (C-N) system: The reference list is alphabetized, and then numbered. These numbers are used in the text to cite the sources from the list, e.g., 1.

This guide summarizes instructions for the name-year system only. For guidelines on the citation sequence and citation-name systems, consult section 29.2.1 of the Scientific Style and Format : The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 8th Ed.

A note on formatting papers: CSE style does not specify guidelines for the physical layout of student research papers; most instructors will want the layout of your paper to be consistent with common scientific practice. Be aware that instructor requirements may differ, and ask your own instructor about the requirements for your assignment.

CSE In-Text Citations

In-text citations consist of the last name of the author(s) and the year of publication. Enclose the name and year in parentheses without a comma, e.g., (Smith 2011).

  • An in-text reference should be placed immediately following the title, word, or phrase referring to the work.
  • For multiple works published by an author in different years, place the years after the author name in chonological order, e.g., (Smith 1999, 2001)
  • For multiple works published by an author in the same year, add an alphabetic designator to the year in both your in-text citation and reference list, e.g., (Smith 1999a, 1999b)
  • For different authors with the same last name, provide initials or enough other names to distinguish between them, and separate them with a semicolon, e.g., (Smith BL 1999; Smith TD 2002)
  • For 2 authors, list both last names in the in-text citation separated by "and" (NOT "&"), e.g., (Haggarty and Gaynor 2008)
  • For more than 2 authors, list the first author's last name followed by "et al." and the year, e.g., (Coyne et al. 2001)
  • When the author is a corporation or other organization, you may use an abbreviated form of the name for your in-text citation, e.g., (TRU 2009).  The abbreviation should appear in square brackets as the first part of the citation in your reference list.
  • If there is no author, include the first word(s) of the title (enough to identify the source) followed by an ellipsis (...), e.g., (Biological research ... 2007)
  • If there is no date of publication listed, include the words [date unknown] in square brackets.

CSE Cited References List

Order: List entries in alphabetical order beginning with the first author’s last name (or, if there is no known author, by organization name or by the title of the work). Ignore "a", "an", and "the" at the beginning of a title when alphabetizing. Place the year after the last author’s name, followed by a period.

Organization/group as author: Where you used an abbreviated form of an organization's name for the in-text citation, include the abbreviation in square brackets as the first part of the citation in your reference list, e.g., [CLA] Canadian Lung Association.

Authors’ names: Give authors’ last names, followed by initials for first and middle names. Do not use periods or spaces between the initials. Do not use a comma between the last name and the initials, e.g., Smith BL. Include all authors’ names if a work has up to ten authors; for a work with eleven or more authors, list the first ten names followed by a comma and “et al.” (which means “and others”). For works with two authors, do not use “and” or “&” to separate the authors’ names.

No author: If no author can be identified, put the title in place of the author.

Multiple citations by same author: If you are citing more than one item by the same author(s), list works in chronological order (oldest first). If you are including works by a particular author as both a single author and as a coauthor, list the the items published individually first. List the multi-author publications in alphabetical order by the second author's last name.

Formatting titles: Do not italicize or underline the titles of books or journals.

Titles of books and articles: Only the first letter of the title’s first word and any proper nouns should be capitalized. Do not enclose article titles in quotation marks.

Titles of journals: Abbreviate the titles of any journals that consist of more than one word. Omit articles, conjunctions, and prepositions (e.g., the, and, of). Do not use apostrophes. Capitalize all the words or abbreviated words in the title.


  •  Science
  •  Sci Am
  •  N Engl J Med
  •  Womens Health

To find journal abbreviations:

UBC Woodard Library Science and Engineering Journal Abbreviations

CalTech ISI Journal Title Abbreviations:

NLM Catalog: Journals referenced in the NCBI Databases


Edition: Include edition information where provided, abbreviated as "ed."


  • 8th ed.
  • New rev. ed.
  • 3rd Am. ed.


Page ranges: Include page ranges for articles in journals/magazines/newspapers and for chapters in books. When an article appears on discontinuous pages, list all pages or page ranges, separated by commas, e.g., 145-149, 162-174. For chapters in books, use the abbreviation “p.” before the numbers (p. 63-90).

No date of publication: Use the abbreviation [date unknown]. Exception: When citing electronic publications (e.g., websites), use the dates of update/revision (or both) instead.

More than one city of publication: Use the first one listed.