Skip to Main Content

Citation Styles and Tools: American Chemistry Society (ACS)

How to construct citations in MLA, Chicago, APA, ACS, and ASA, and tools that can help you

ACS Style

Here are some basic guidelines for ACS style citations. For more technical or specific questions, the ACS Guide has a solution for practically any situation you might encounter.

For in-text references, there are three ways you can cite materials. Choosing between the 3 could be up to your professor's preference, a journal's style (for submission), or your own preference, just be consistent. A journal using each style is linked for browsing so you can get a sense of what it looks like.

  1. Footnotes, eg. This is the style most ACS journals use.1 (Accounts of Chemical Research)
  2. Parenthetical numbers in italics referring to a numbered list at the end of the paper, eg. This is the second most common style ACS journals use (2).  (ACS Chemical Biology)
  3. Author name and year of publication in parentheses ("Author-date"). eg. This is not a style any ACS journals use but is still an accepted form of citations (Coghill et al., 2006).

For Reference lists, you will either compile a list in numerical order based on your footnotes or parenthetical numbers, or in alphabetical order based on author name. This is a brief list of possible sources you may use and examples of a citation for those sources. Please consult the full ACS guide for any other source type you might need to cite.

Journal article citations must include: author name(s), abbreviated journal title, year of publication, volume number (if any), and initial page of cited article (if not the complete span). For more information on journal abbreviations.

Format: Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Title of Article. Journal Abbreviation Year, Volume, Inclusive Pagination.

Example: Pearson, W. Platinum Theft. Ind. Eng. Chem. 1915, 7(4), pp. 358.

Online journal articles

Format: Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Title of Article. Journal Abbreviation [Online] Year, Volume, Pagination. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).

Example: García, G.; Aparicio, S.; Ullah, R.; Atilhan, M. Deep Eutectic Solvents: Physicochemical Properties and Gas Separation Applications. Energy Fuels [Online] 2015, 29, 2616–2644. (accessed Aug 29, 2018).


Format: Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Book Title, Edition number: Series Information (if any); Publisher: Place of Publication, Year; Volume Number, Pagination.

Example: Browne, C.; Weeks, M. A History of the American Chemical Society, Seventy-Five Eventful Years; American Chemical Society: Washington, D.C., 1952; pp. 425-457.


Format: Patent Owner 1; Patent Owner 2; etc. Title of Patent. Patent Number, Date.

Example: Adams, D.; Calcoen, J.; Justice, T.; Richert, G. Method and apparatus for sorting. U.S. Patent 9,517,491, December 13, 2016.

Print resources at Whitman

© 2014 Whitman College Penrose Library |