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Organic Chemistry Projects: ACS Citation Style

Why Cite Your Sources

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

  • It can help you avoid plagiarizing.
  • You're demonstrating 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 them.
  • It gives readers a map to find other sources related to your paper, for the same reason that databases like Web of Science include the cited sources for every article you find there.

Here are some examples of how to cite sources using the ACS Style guidelines, based on the ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication's chapter on citing references.

ACS Citation Examples

How to cite a book depends on whether it's an authored work or an edited one (chapters written by different authors). For an edited book, you include information about the chapter you used, as well as the book. If it's an ebook, you can include the DOI or URL and date accessed.  

(1) Sailor, M.J. Porous Silicon in Practice: Preparation, Characterization and Applications [online]; Wiley VCH: Weinheim, Germany, 2012; pp 189-227. DOI: 10.1002/9783527641901 (accessed November 14, 2017).

(1) Vollhardt, P.; Schore, N. Organic Chemistry, Structure and Function, 7th ed.; W.H. Freeman and Company: New York, NY, 2014; p 120.

(1) Wang, Y.; McCammon, J.A. Lipid Bilayers: Structure, Dynamics, and Interactions with Antimicrobial Peptides. In Molecular Modeling at the Atomic Scale: Methods and Applications in Quantitative Biology; Zhou, R. Eds.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2015; pp 191-214.

(1) Hill, R.H. Jr., Finster, D.C. Laboratory Safety for Chemistry Students [online]; Wiley: Hoboken, N.J., 2010; pp 351-396. (accessed November 14, 2017).

(1) Perring, K.D. Perfumes. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology [Online]; Wiley & Sons, Posted April 29, 2014. DOI: 10.1002/0471238961.1605180619030818.a01.pub3 (accessed November 14, 2017).

Assuming you got the article online, citing it depends on whether you accessed it from the publisher website, or a 3rd party source like our Ebsco databases. Chemical & Engineering News (or C&EN Global Enterprise) is cited differently.

(1) Fikes, B.J. Computing Transforms Chemistry, Biotech. The San Diego Union-Tribune [Online], March 19, 2016, (accessed November 14, 2017).

(1) Talbot, D. Desalination out of Desperation. MIT Technology Review [Online], Jan-Feb 2015, pp 44-48. Academic Search Complete. (accessed November 14, 2017).

(1) Bomgardner, M.M. Making Better Contact Lenses. C&EN Global Enterprise 2017, 95 (13), 29-33. (accessed November 14, 2017).

(1) Wikipedia. (accessed November 14, 2017).

(1) National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem. (accessed November 14, 2017).

(1) Royal Society of Chemistry. The Merck Index Online. (accessed November 14, 2017).

(1) Center for Science in the Public Interest. Caffeine Chart. (accessed November 14, 2017).

(1) Day, K. Butyric acid, a very smelly molecule. The Chronicle Flask. (accessed November 14, 2017). 

For citing journal articles, the name of the journal is abbreviated and italicized. You can use CASSI to find the abbreviated name for your journal. The year of publication is in bold. The DOI is a unique number assigned to a journal article, which you can usually find on the article homepage. Adding in front of the DOI makes it a link

(1) Quinn, P.K.; Collins, D.B.; Grassian, V.H.; Prather, K.A.; Bates, T.S. Chemistry and Related Properties of Freshly Emitted Sea Spray Aerosol. Chem. Rev. 2015, 115, 4383–4399 DOI: 10.1021/cr500713g.

If the article was recently published, it may not have an assigned volume or pages, but you can still cite it. Include the DOI and URL, and the date you accessed it.

(1) Wang, L.; Moore, C.E.; Cohen, S.M.  Coordinative Alignment To Achieve Ordered Guest Molecules in a Versatile Molecular Crystalline Sponge. Cryst. Growth Des. [Online Early Access]. DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.7b01390. Published online: October 23, 2017. (accessed November 14, 2017).