Skip to main content


Style Guides

Citing sources is a necessary part of scientific research, scholarship and communication. There are many different style guides that dictate the format of cited references. In chemistry, one of the most commonly used guides is the ACS Style Guide published by the American Chemical Society. Below are examples of the most frequently encountered types of materials.


Type Examples


Emsley, J. Molecules at an Exhibition: Portraits of Intriguing Materials in Everyday Life. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1998; pp 15-20.


Understanding our Environment - An Introduction to Environmental Chemistry and Pollution, 3rd Ed. [Online]; Harrison, R. M., Ed.; Royal Society of Chemistry: Cambridge, 1999; Chapter 3, pp 71-106. (accessed Aug. 13, 2007).

Conference Proceeding


Author 1; Author 2; etc. Title of Presentation. In Title of the Collected Work; Proceedings of the Name of the Meeting, Location of the Meeting, Date of Meeting; Editor 1, Editor 2, etc., Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Abstract Number, Pagination.

Rudin, A.; Schreiber, H. Dependence of Polymer Processing Behavior on Shear and Thermal History. In ANTEC 83: Plastics Engineering Today for Tomorrow's World, Chicago, May 2-5, 1983; Society of Plastics Engineers: Brookfield Center, CT, 1983; pp. 310-311.

Course Notes   

Doe, J. CHEM 6001 Lecture on NMR Spectroscopy. Presented at Queen's University, Kingston, Sept. 10, 2008.

Database (Reaxys, SciFinder, etc.)

When citing a chemical compound retrieved from a database, always include the CAS Registry Number (RN), Reaxys Registry Number (RRN) or chemical name and the date the database was accessed.

Scifinder, version 2007.1; Chemical Abstracts Service: Columbus, OH, 2007; RN 58-08-2 (accessed Aug 13, 2007).

Reaxys, version 1.7.8; Elsevier; 2012; RRN 969209 (accessed Aug 13, 2012).

If the data retrieved are calculated data, also cite the software used in the calculation:

Scifinder, version 2007.1; Chemical Abstracts Service: Columbus, OH, 2007; RN 58-08-2 (accessed Aug 13, 2007); calculated using ACD/Labs software, version 8.14; ACD/Labs 1994-2007.


Priddy, D. Styrene Polymers. In Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technology, 3rd ed.; Kroshwitz, J., Ed.; Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, NJ, 2003; pp 247-336.

Encyclopedia (online) 

Leng, M. Pesticides. In Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology [Online]; Wiley & Sons, Posted   Sept 23, 2005. (accessed Aug 13, 2007).


CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 84th Ed.; Lide, D.R., Ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2003; Section 3, p 476.

Handbook (online)

Lange's Handbook of Chemistry, 15th Ed. [Online]; Dean, J.A., Ed.; McGraw-Hill: New York, 1999; pp 1.174-1.343. (accessed Aug 13, 2007).



Cornelissen, C.; Chan, G.; Masuda, J.D.; Stephan, D.W. Aluminum pentafluorophenyl-amide complexes. Can. J. Chem. [Online] 2007, 85, pp 135-140.    TemplateServlet?calyLang=eng&journal=cjc&volume=85&year=0&issue=2&msno=v07-003 (accessed May 10, 2008).

Online (No Print Edition)

Kosiova, I.; Janicova, A.; Kois, P. Synthesis of Coumarin or Ferrocene Labeled Nucleosides via Staudinger Ligation. Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry [Online] 2006, 2.
(accessed Jan 8, 2009).


Marion, N.; Nolan, S.P. Propargylic esters in gold catalysis: access to diversity. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2007, 46, 2750-2752.
Magazine or Newspaper


Kemsley, J. Yellow Bananas Fluoresce Blue. Chemical & Engineering News [Online],Oct 20, 2008, p 51. (accessed Feb 2, 2009).


Mittelstadt, M. Unsafe Levels of Chemical Leaching into Drinks, U.S. Panel Says. Globe and Mail, Aug 1, 2007, p 1.

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) Dimethyl Sulfoxide; MSDS No. D7120 [Online]; Mallinckrodt Baker: Phippsburg, NJ, May 25, 2005, (accessed July 20, 2007).
Patent Earle, M.J.; Katdare, S.P. Aromatic Sulfonation Reactions. U.S. Patent 7,009,077, March 7, 2006.


Author. Title of Thesis. Level of Thesis, Degree-granting University, Location of University (optional), Date of Completion.


Zhao, S. Reactivity and Luminescence Study of Platinum and Copper Complexes of 7-azaindole Derivatives. Ph.D. Thesis [Online], Queen's University, 2007. (accessed May 1, 2009).


Cheon, K. Kinetic and Synthetic Studies of Azo/hydrazo Dyes and Azo Modified Dendrimer. Ph.D. Thesis, Queen's University, 1996.


Periodic Table. American Chemical Society.   acsdisplay.html?DOC=sitetools%5Cperiodic_table.html (accessed July 20, 2007).

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Home Page.
(accessed July 20, 2007).

Note: The NIST Chemistry WebBook should be cited as a book:

Chickos, J.S. Heat of Sublimation Data. In NIST Chemistry WebBook; Linstrom, P.Mallard, W.G.; NIST Standard Reference Database Number 69; National Institute of Standards and Technology: Gaithersburg, MD, June 2005; Toluene. (accessed on Aug. 13, 2007).