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In the sciences, each journal establishes its own citation format, to which all authors are expected to conform.  Some of these are similar to the APA format; very few if any are similar to MLA - so this is a poor choice unless there is a compelling reason to use MLA.  A few of the straightforward ones are shown below.  Whichever format you choose, BE CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT THE PAPER.

note - writing style books that focus on writing for science, or specifically biology, are available.  For example, a serious student might refer to Knisely, Karin 2012.  A Student Handbook for Writing in Biology, fourth edition.  Sinauer Associates, Massachusetts, USA.

For the purposes of this class, you may use any format that you find used in a scientific journal if the following basic requirements are met.  The citation must include

  • the names of every author, with at least initials (full names are not required)
  • the full title of the article (or book)
  • publication date
  • periods between each section (as for MLA or APA)
  • for journals:
  •   --  journal name (usually italicized)
  •   --  volume, issue (bold, italics, or underlined), and inclusive page numbers
  • for books: (title always underlined)
    •   --  author(s) or editor(s)
    •   --  publisher; location
    •   --  relevant chapters or pages if the entire book was not used
  • for internet:
    •   --  author and/or organization responsible for posting
    •   --  date of post (if you can't find one, use the date you viewed the site)
    •   --  complete URL of the site (not of a search engine that brought you there)

The reference or sources cited list should either be numbered in order of citation (I don't recommend this because it can be problematic when you edit) or alphabetic by author's last name recommended.  Citation format within the text depends on which you choose.

The convention for citing references within the body of a paper is that when specific information from a source is used, that source is cited either by number or by author last name, date in ( ).  For example,

You must use correct and complete citations in all written work except in-class exams (Schmeidler, 2008)

then,
Schmeidler, K.T. 2008. personal communication

If there are more than one citation with the same author and date, then use a, b, etc. to distinguish among them.

Examples of acceptable citation formats (examples are for journals)  [other formats may be acceptable if they include all the information, and are used in some journal] :

Schmeidler-Sapiro, K.T., Ratnoff, O.D., and Gordon, E.M. 1991. "Mitogenic Effects of Coagulation Factor XII and Factor XIIa on HepG2 Cells." Proc Natl Acad Sci 88:4382-4385.

Schmeidler-Sapiro, K.T., Ratnoff, O.D., and Gordon, E.M.  "Mitogenic Effects of Coagulation Factor XII and Factor XIIa on HepG2 Cells." Proc Natl Acad Sci 88:4382-4385. 1991.

Schmeidler-Sapiro, K.T., Ratnoff, O.D., and Gordon, E.M.  Proc Natl Acad Sci 88:4382-4385. "Mitogenic Effects of Coagulation Factor XII and Factor XIIa on HepG2 Cells."  1991.
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