How to Make a CSE Citation

How to Make a CSE Citation

CSE style is widespread nowadays for making bibliographies in mathematical and physical sciences. This article will be useful for writers, editors, and publishers, who are facing difficulties with making citations in the CSE system.

Tips for Writing the CSE Citation System

The CSE citation system has been developed by the Council of Science Editors. In a nutshell, The CSE style involves two systems.

  • A citation-sequence system
  • A name-year system

Both of them referring to the bibliography at the end of the document. However, we can distinguish a couple of substantial divergences between them. The main principle of the first system in CSE style is that reference usage order in the text determines the order in your bibliography. The name-year system presupposes avoiding the number use. It lists the references according to the authors’ last names. The next point is that in-text citations occur only in the second system. In the first one, they are substituted with superscripted numbers.

Let’s take a closer look at these two systems.

A Name-Year System

According to the name-year system (sometimes mentioned as the Harvard system), the in-text reference consists of the author’s last name and publication year. The bibliography is arranged without numbers and in a from-A-to-Z order by author and publication year. A periodical or book title is NOT italicized. If the works of the same author are mentioned, they are placed in chronological order.


To create a periodicals reference, you have to mind these requirements:

Author’s name. Date. Article heading. Journal title. Vol(issue): location.

Articles by a single author

Sample: Brown PC. 2011. America’s food business. Nat Neurosci. 5(13):382-387

Note. To make an in-text citation, mention the author’s name and year in parenthesis.

In-text reference example: (Brown 2011)

Articles by two authors

For articles written by two authors part their names with a comma, use “and” for the in-text citation

Example: Williams FG, Brown PC. 2011. America’s food business. Nat Neurosci. 5(13):382-387

In-text reference example: (Williams and Brown 2011)

Articles by three to ten authors

For articles written by 3 to 10 authors part their names by using commas, list all of them in the full reference. For the in-text reference, write only the first author’s name following by “et al.”

Example: Williams FG, Tailor GA, Mitchell RC, Thomson TC, Brown PC. 2011. America’s food business. Nat Neurosci. 5(13):382-387

In-text reference example: (Williams et al. 2011)

Articles by more than 10 authors

For articles written by more than 10 authors, list the first ten in the full reference following by “et al.”

Example: Mitchell RC, Williams FG, Tailor GA, Thomson TC, Roberts MC, Smith MJ, Brown PC, Green AJ, Jackson BG, Davis TG, et al. 2011. America’s food business. Nat Neurosci. 5(13):382-387

In-text reference example: (Mitchell et al. 204)


To make a book reference in the bibliography, you need to take into consideration:

Author’s name. Date. Title. Edition (if re-edited). Publication place: publisher. Page number (optional).

Books by one and two authors

For articles by two authors part their names with a comma, include “and” in the in-text citation

Example: Tailor GA, Williams FG. 2014. Microbiology. St. Paul (MN): APS Press 508 p.

In-text reference example: (Tailor and Williams 2014)

Books by more than 3 authors

For books written by 3 to 10 authors, and by more than 10 authors, requirements are similar to those for the articles with an equal number of authors.

  • For books by 3 to 10 authors part their names by commas, mention all of them in the full reference. For making the in-text reference, write the first author’s name followed by “et al.”
  • For books by more than 10 authors, mention the first ten in the full reference following by “et al.”

Examples: Williams FG, Tailor GA Thomson TC, Brown PC. 2014. Microbiology. Boston (MA): APS Press 508 p. In-text reference (Williams et al. 2014)


According to this system, the references in the bibliography are listed according to their order of use in the text. For instance, if the study by Williams is the second in the text to mention, it gets No2 in the bibliography. To define the references in the text, the superscripted numbers are used.


To refer to periodicals, include:

Format: Author’s name. Article heading. Journal title. Date;vol(issue):location.

Sample: Smith, GC. The evolution of insects. Boston Globe. 2016 June 23; Sect. B:11 (col. 1).

Articles by two or more authors

The requirements for articles by two or more authors are equal don’t differ from those in the name-year references. If necessary, you can check the requirements out by scrolling up this page. We provide some additional examples.

Samples: Tailor GA, Thomson TC. Surgical therapy of epilepsy. Can J Neurol Sci. 1997;15(4 Suppl): 589-73.

Davidson MC. Toys break the law. Boston Globe. 2018 July 23; Sect. B:11 (col. 3).


Format: Author(s). Year. Chapter heading. In: Editor(s). Book title. Publication place: publisher. Page numbers for the chapter only.

Example: Otegui MS., 2017. Molecular biology. In: Olson OA, editor. Endosperms. Heidelberg (Germany): Springer-Verlag. p. 159-178.

Internet resources

Format: Author’s name. Page heading [Internet]. Publisher Location: Publisher; Year [updated date; cited date]. If some information is unavailable, you should mention this by writing [date unknown], [place unknown], or [publisher unknown]. It is considered appropriate for Web sources.

Example: Plague [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); [updated 2012 Jun 13; cited 2014 Apr 26]. Available from:


The title should be written above the image, and the CSE and the description have to be mentioned below the image. If you use only images from a particular source, you shouldn’t mention it in the bibliography.

Example: Northeastern United States. West Nile virus: wild bird cases [demographic map]. Washington (DC): Department of the Interior (US); 2001 Jun 1. 1 sheet: color.

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