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Chemistry 199 Introduction to Research


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Use ACS Superscript Numerical Style for Citations

ACS Style Guide


ACS (American Chemical Society) Style Guide



Developed by the American Chemical Society, the ACS Stye is generally used for research papers and journal articles in the field of chemistry.

Each citation consists of two parts: the in-text citation and the reference list.  The in-text citation provides brief identifying information on the cited work.  The reference list is a list of  sources that provides full bibliographic information at the end of the paper or article.


In the ACS Style, references can be cited in one of three ways: by italic number, by superscript number or by author name and date.  For this class the superscript number style is recommended.

The ACS Superscript Number Style

In the ACS superscript number style, citations are numbered in the list of references and cited in the text by the superscript number of the citation.  

Citations within the text:

For in-text citation, the superscript number can be  at the end of the cited information or within the cited information:

Examples of in-text citation

At end of cited information:

Oscillation in the reaction of benzaldehyde with oxygen was reported previously.³

Within the cited information:

Smith³ states that oscillation in the reaction of benzaldehyde with oxygen was reported previously.

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

Citations in the list of references:

The reference list provides the full details on the sources you used in the research for your paper.

Each entry will include the following reference components:

  • Author or editor
  • Publication Date
  • Publication information

Citations in the list of references should be ordered by their superscripted numbers in the text (not alphabetically). 

Start a new page for the references list with the word "References" centered or left-justified at the top of  the page.

Use a hanging indent to format your references list indent (that is, all lines in a reference entry are indented except for the first line).  Journal names and book titles are italicized. 

To correctly abbreviate scientific journal titles (necessary for citing journal articles) use the Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index.


Examples of reference list citation

Journal Article:

1. Author, 1; Author, 2; etc.. Title of article. Abbreviation of Journal Name Year, Volume number, pages.

1. Bratko, D.; Blanch, H. W. Effect of secondary structure on protein aggregation: a replica exchange simulation        

study. J. Chem. Phys. 2003, 118, 5185-5194.


2. Author 1; Author 2; etc. Title of Book, Edition Number; Series Information If Applicable; Publisher, Year. 

Chang, R.; Brattle, T. General Chemistry: The Basic Concepts, 12th ed.; McGraw-Hill, 2016.


Proper Use of Sources

Proper Use of Sources Tutorial: Here, you will find information on the different forms of plagiarism, proper scholarly procedure, and links to helpful websites for further information. Always remember that your best resource is your professor so don’t hesitate to consult them to figure out what is and is not appropriate in each case. 

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