Citing Sources

What is a DOI?

What is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI)?

A DOI is a persistent identifier used to uniquely identify objects, such as journal articles, research reports, data sets, and official publications. 

The DOI for a document remains fixed over the lifetime of the document providing a more stable link than simply using a URL. 

Cell Style Examples

Cell Style is the in-house reference formatting style used by the Cell family of journals. It is a popular citation style for Biology at Fontbonne. See Information for Authors (Cell) for more information. Always ask your instructor which style you should use.


In-text citations should be written in Harvard style and not numbered, e.g., "Smith et al., 2015; Smith and Jones, 2015." 


Please use the style shown below for references. Note that "et al." should only be used after ten authors.

Article in a Periodical

Sondheimer, N., and Lindquist, S. (2000). Rnq1: an epigenetic modifier of protein function in yeast. Mol. Cell 5, 163–172. 10.1016/S1097-2765(00)80412-8.

Article on a preprint server or other repository

De Virgilio, C., Hatakeyama, R., Péli-Gulli, M.-P., Hu, Z., Jaquenoud, M., Osuna, G.M.G., Sardu, A., and Dengjel, J. (2018). Spatially distinct pools of TORC1 balance protein homeostasis. Mendeley Data, 10.17632/m9s42s94fc.1.

Article in a Book (Essay/Chapter) 

King, S.M. (2003). Dynein motors: Structure, mechanochemistry and regulation. In Molecular Motors, M. Schliwa, ed. (Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH), pp. 45–78.

An Entire Book 

Cowan, W.M., Jessell, T.M., and Zipursky, S.L. (1997). Molecular and Cellular Approaches to Neural Development (New York: Oxford University Press).

Citation Styles - Which one should you use?

Citation Styles 

Did you know that there are over 9,000 citation styles? It's true! There are common styles that you've likely heard of such as, Chicago Manual of Style (Humanities), MLA (Humanities) and APA (Social Sciences). In the sciences, like Biology, it's not uncommon for a journal to have an in-house style. 

How do you know which style to use?

It depends, who are are submitting your work to?

  • Class or academic department: For academic work you turn in for a class, always check with your instructor for the correct the style or formatting. Many faculty will want you to use a specific style, while others may just want you to consistently use a style of your choice. Always ask if it is not clear!


  • Formal publication (with a publisher): If you are submitting work to a journal publication, such as Nature or Cell, or a publisher like Taylor and Francis, look for author information on the publication's website ("Author Information," "Author Guidelines," "Submission Guidelines.").

           For example, in Cell: Menu > Author Resources > Information for Authors



An editor's guide to writing and publishing science

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