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CHEM 6C: General Chemistry III (Brydges, Spring 2020): Citing Your Sources (ACS Style)

Resources for Chem 6C (Brydges) - Spring 2020

The ACS style citation examples were moved.

Why Cite Your Sources

It's important to cite the sources in your writing (also posters, presentations, videos for this assignment, etc).

  • It can help you avoid plagiarizing, by giving appropriate credit to ideas that are not yours.
  • You demonstrate your expertise in the field: where your work fits within the current body of research, and that you are building on that existing research rather than simply repeating it.
  • It gives readers a map to find other sources related to your paper.

About the American Chemical Society style for citations:

  • There are currently two editions of the ACS Style Guide:
    • The 3rd edition published in 2006 [chapter on citing references]
    • The ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication that was published in January 2020 [chapter on citing references]
    • Along with new chapters, the ACS GSC reference chapter has been completely updated to focus more on online sources (including new types of sources not that weren't included in the 2006 edition. However, the references chapter is still somewhat of a work in progress, and there are plant to update it on a regular basis to keep it current.. 
  • It's difficult to completely copy the citation formatting as seen on the published ACS journal articles:
    • Authors are no longer even required to format their references in ACS style when they submit their papers. They can use any citation format they want, as long as the references are correct and include the article titles. ("review ready"). Once the article is accepted, then ACS technical staff will format the references when they copyedit and typeset the article for publication.
    • The HTML and PDF versions are formatted differently for maximum readability. For the in-text citations, parenthetical numering like (1) or (1,2) is used for the HTML versions, while superscripts like1 or1,2  are used for the PDFs..The reference lists are also formatted differently. The in-text numbers in the HTML version (and sometimes PDFs as well) usually link to the actual reference at the end of the paper. Again, all of this is done by ACS once the article has been accepted.

For a student paper, unless your instructor requests that you use a specific format, the simplest approach would probably be the HTML version, with parenthetical numbering of citations within the text (1), followed by a numbered references list without indenting. But you should also consult with your instructor if needed.


Comparison of citation formatting between published HTML and PDF versions of the same article in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. Click to enlarge.