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SPPS 221: Pharmaceutical Chemistry: ACS Citation Style

Information resources for pharmaceutical chemistry

ACS recently changed their policy on submitted manuscripts: references can be formatted in any citation style as long as the 1) references are correct, and 2) the article titles are included. In 2020 they also released the ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication, which includes updated citation formatting. You can access the Quick Style Guide, which is freely available, or the full chapter for more in-depth examples, which requires VPN or the campus protected access.

In-Text Citations

ACS uses numbered references within the paper, either parenthetical (1,2,3) or superscripts.1,2,3 They use the parenthetical numbering in the HTML versions of the articles, and superscripts for the PDFs.

References are added to the bibliography in numerical order rather than alphabetical by author. If a source is cited more than once in the paper, simply reuse the reference number used the first time. It does not need to be added to the reference list more than once.

Citing Journal Articles

  • Include up to 10 authors, followed by et al if there are more. 
  • The journal names are italicized and abbreviated. If you're not sure what the abbreviation would be, search the title in CASSI. One-word journals are not abbreviated.
  • The year is in bold, and the volume number is italicized. Include the DOI at the end of the reference. Some articles may have a number rather than pages.
  • If the article has been accepted but has not yet been assigned to an issue, you might see phrases in the citation like online early access, just accepted, in press corrected proof, as soon as published. Include this in the citation as well. There's typically no page numbers since the article hasn't been added to an issue. You can add the date you accessed this if you choose.

1.  Mitachi, K.; Aleiwi, B. A.; Schneider, C. M.; Siricilla, S.; Kurosu, M. Stereocontrolled Total Synthesis of Muraymycin D1 Having a Dual Mode of Action against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138 (39), 12975-12980. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b07395

2.  Dong, H.; Wu, M.; Wang, Y.; Du, W.; He, Y.; Shi, Z. Total Syntheses and Anti-inflammatory Activities of Syringin and Its Natural Analogues. J. Nat. Prod. 2021, Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00585 (accessed 2021-11-04).

3. Johnson, T.C.; Christy, M. P.; Siegel, D. Synthesis of the 26-Membered Core of Thiopeptide Natural Products by Scalable Thiazole-Forming Reactions of Cysteine Derivatives and Nitriles. Synthesis 2021, 53 (3), 498-508. DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1706478

4. Dean, D. A.; Gautham, G.; Siqueira-Neto, J. L.; McKerrow, J. H.; Dorrestein, P. C.; McCall, L.-I. Spatial Metabolomics Identifies Localized Chemical Changes in Heart Tissue during Chronic Cardiac Chagas Disease. PLoS Neglected Trop. Dis. 2021, 15 (10): e0009819. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0009819

Citing Patents

Patents are fairly straightforward to cite. You do not need to include a URL or DOI, as the patent or application number is sufficient.

1. Doran, P. J.; O'Neill, P. M. Process for preparing tricyclic compounds having antihistaminic activity. US6271378 B1, 2001.

Citing Websites

Ideally, you want the website, the page you used, the organization, the URL, and the data accessed. For databases that are paywalled like many of those licensed by UCSD. you may prefer to use the landing page for the website rather than the specific URL. If it's noted that the original source of the data is a journal article, you should cite the article if you actually obtain and use the article. Otherwise, cite the database. If the data was calculated or obtained from another company, that should be included in the citation as well. 

1. Caffeine. The Merck Index. Royal Society of Chemistry. (accessed October 20, 2019).

1. Caffeine. Combined Chemical Dictionary. Taylor and Francis. (accessed October 20 2019).

1. Caffeine. SciFinder. CAS. (accessed October 20, 2019). Calculated using Advanced Chemistry Development software, version 11.02; ACD/Labs 1994-2019.