Types of Documentation

In-Text or Parenthetical Citations


The CSE style manual, written by the Council of Science Editors (formerly the Council of Biology Editors), is used to advise writers in the natural sciences—such as biology, biotechnology, and medicine—about style and formatting of scientific papers, journals, and books for publication. Some scientific fields, like chemistry, horticulture, medicine, and physics, have their own style manuals.

The CSE manual, Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, recommends two methods for citing and documenting sources:

  • the name-year system
  • the citation-sequence system

The name-year system is based on APA style. The citation-sequence system lists sources in numerical sequence based on their occurrences in the scientific paper and keys all in-text citations to that list. You will have to ask your instructor which of these two systems he or she prefers. Keep in mind that the target journal for publication may still dictate any modification to these systems to meet editorial guidelines.

Because the style and format for in-text citations and reference lists vary for each type of entry (e.g., one author, multiple authors, books, journals, newspapers), you should consult the CSE manual for details regarding usage. Guides to CSE style are available online. For citations in CSE/CBE style, see the following sites:

UMUC students writing papers in astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, health, microbiology, natural science, nutrition, and physics courses should ask their instructors about the preferred documentation style.

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