This guide provides a basic introduction to the ACS (American Chemical Society) citation style. It is based on the 3rd edition of the ACS Style Guide published by the American Chemical Society in 2006. Below are basic explanations and examples for the most common types of citations used by students. For additional information and examples, refer to Chapter 14 of the ACS Style guide or view the entire ebook (see links below).
Citing References in Text
ACS suggests citing references in text in three ways:
You can do in-text citation in three different ways with ACS, as summarised here:
Oscillation in the reaction of benzaldehyde with oxygen was reported previously.3
The syntheses described by Fraser3 take advantage of carbohydrate topology.
Oscillation in the reaction of benzaldehyde with oxygen was reported previously (6).
Jensen (6) repported oscillation in the reaction of benzaldehyde with oxygen.
Oscillation in the reaction of benzaldehyde with oxygen was reported previously (Finnegan et al., 2004).
The primary structure of this enzyme has also been determined (O'Brien and Alenno, 2005; Axelrod, 2003).
NOTE: Put your references in order by number if using Method A or B (each reference is assigned a number and that same number is used if you reference that source again). List sources alphabetically if using Method C. Ask your prof if you do not know which of the three methods they prefer.
Sometimes an author writes about a source of information but you cannot track down the original research report they refer to. For example, a journal article may refer to a research study conducted by someone else. Best practice is to track down the original resource. In the example below, the synthesis for this compound that was originally published in Remington's is being discussed in the Hazardous Substances Databank (HSDB) in PubChem. Include only the HSDB source (the source you actually read) in your reference list.
NOTE: The ACS book provides no guidance on how to cite a source you have not seen. This is a suggestion of how it could be done.
Sample in-text reference:
This is the synthesis information for a certain compound (Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences, as cited in the Hazardous Substances Data Bank in PubChem)1
See pages 291-299 of the ACS Style Guide for more journal article examples.
Find Journal Abbreviations here: http://cassi.cas.org/search.jsp
Article from a Database
Author 1; Author 2; etc. Article Title. Journal Abbreviation [Online] Year, Volume, Inclusive Pagination or other identifying information. Database Provider. URL of top page (accessed Month Day, Year).
Wei, M.; Wu, D.; Sun, R.; Sheng, S. Solid-Phase Organic Synthesis of 1-(E)-phenylethenyl-4-substituted-1,2,3-triazoles from Polystyrene-Supported (2-azido-1-phenyl)ethyl Selenide. J. Chem. Res. [Online] 2013, 37, 422-424. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 5, 2013).
Online article, not from a database
Author 1; Author 2; etc. Article Title. Journal Abbreviation Year, Volume, Inclusive Pagination or other identifying information, such as an article number. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).
Kishi, N.; Akita, M.; Kamiya, M.; Hayashi, S.; Hsu, H.; Yoshizawa, M. Facile Catch and Release of Fullerenes Using a Photoresponsive Molecular Tube. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 12976-12979. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja406893y (accessed Sept 1, 2013).
Author 1; Author 2; etc. Article Title. Journal Abbreviation Year, Volume, Inclusive Pagination
Mawhinney, R. C.; Muchall, H. M.; Peslherbe, G.H.. A Computational Study of the 1,3-Dipolar Cycloaddition Reaction Mechanism for Nitrilimines. Can. J. Chem. 2005, 35, 1615-1625.
See page 320 of the ACS Style Guide for more encyclopedia examples.
Print encyclopedia, with editors
Title of section. In Encyclopedia Title; Editor 1, Editor 2, Eds.; Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Pagination.
Aspirin. In Meyler's Side Effects of Drugs: The International Encyclopedia of Adverse Drug Reactions and Interactions; J. K. Aronson, M. N. G. Dukes, Eds..; Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2006; pp 133-136.
Article Title. Encyclopedia Title [Online]; Publisher, Posted Online Posting Date. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).
Sulfuric and Sulfurous Esters. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology [Online]; Wiley & Sons, Posted December 4, 2000. http://oldproxy.mtroyal.ca:3108/doi/10.1002/0471238961.1921120613030315.a01/full (accessed Sept 26, 2013).
See pages 320-322 of the ACS Style Guide for more examples.
Author(s) (if any). Title of the Report. URL (accessed Month Day, Year), other identifying information (if any).
Alkaloid. http://science.howstuffworks.com/alkaloid-info.htm (accessed June 14, 2010).
Institutional or agency websites
Author(s) (if any). Title of the Report, Year. Title of Site. URL (accessed Month Day, Year), other identifying information (if any).
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Hydrogen Sulfide, 2005. CHEMINFO. http://ccinfoweb2.ccohs.ca/cheminfo/Action.lasso?-database=cheminfo&-layout=Display&-response=detail.html&-op=eq&CHEMINFO+RECORD+NUMBER=313E&-search (accessed Sept 30, 2013).
Title; MSDS Number [Online]; Manufacturing Company: Location of Company, Date. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).
Acetic Anhydride; MSDS No. A0338 [Online]; Mallenckrodt Baker: Phillipsburg, NJ, Feb 18, 2003. http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/a0338.htm (accessed Nov 10, 2012).
See pages 300-306 of the ACS Style Guide for more book examples
Author 1; Author 2 etc. Book Title, Edition Number; Publisher: Place of publication, Year.
Kelter, P.; Mosher, M.; Scott, A. Chemistry: The Practical Science; Houghton Mifflin: Boston, MA, 2009.
Chapter from a print book, with authors and editors
Author 1; Author 2 etc. Chapter Title. In Book Title, Editor 1; Editor 2, Eds.; Publisher: Place of publication, Year; page numbers.
Nishiyama, H.; Shiomi, T. Reductive Aldol, Michael, and Mannich Reactions. In Metal Catalyzed Reductive C-C Bond Formation : A Departure from Preformed Organometallic Reagents; Krische, M. J., Ed.; Springer: Berlin, 2007; pp 105-138.
See pages 319-320 of the ACS guide for more information.
Author 1; Author 2; etc. Title of Book [Online]; Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Pagination. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).
Lednicer, D. The Organic Chemistry of Drug Synthesis [Online]; John Wiley & Sones: Hoboken, NJ, 2007; p 15-20. http://site.ebrary.com/lib/mtroyal/docDetail.action?docID=10225456 (accessed Sept 30, 2013).
See pages 310-311 of the ACS Style Guide for more information.
Patent Owner 1; Patent Owner 2; etc. Title of Patent. Patent Number, Date.
Phykitt, H. P. Method for Preparation of an Alkaline and Aspirin Combination Compound. U.S. Patent 5,665,388, Sept 9, 1997.
Any images used should include a figure note to indicate the source of the image*. For more information on how to create and cite a figure refer to pages 343-368 of the ACS Style Guide. Here is an example of how to cite a photo retrieved online:
Figure 1. Chemical structure of caffeine.
Source: Icey, C. Caffeine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Caffeine.svg (accessed Sept 10, 2013). Copyright 2006 by C. Icey. Reprinted with permission.
Lab Manuals, Lecture Notes and Other Personal Communications
Treat a lab manual or course notes like a book authored by the instructor and published by the university. See pages 315-316 and 320-321 of the ACS Style Guide.
Laboratory manual, retrieved BLACKBOARD (website)
Author. Title [Online]; Mount Royal University: Calgary, AB, 2013. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).
Morante, S. Chemistry 1201 Laboratory Manual [Online]. Mount Royal University: Calgary, AB, 2013. http://courseware.mymrc.ca/@98055A6CB5BC4E990D2994115D87E7A8
/courses/1/10544.201001/content/_1399298_1/Lab_Manual_Intro.pdf (Sept 30, 2013).
Laboratory manual, in print
Author. Title; Mount Royal University: Calgary, AB, 2013.
Ackroyd, N. Chemistry 3103 Laboratory Manual; Mount Royal University: Calgary, AB, 2013; p. 13.
Lecture notes, emails or other personal communications
Author. Phrase describing the material, Year.
Lovallo, C. CHEM 2211 Lecture on Organic Chemistry presented at Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB, 2013.