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Citing Data using ACS Style: Home

ACS Style Guide Online

ACS Style Guidelines for Citing Data

The examples below are suggested formats for citing data such as physical property data or spectra obtained from various types of resources.  The ACS Style Guide provides a few examples for citing data but does not include examples of the wide variety of online sources that are available. 

 

The purpose of the citation is to provide sufficient detail so that someone else can locate the data.  Page numbers may not exist when citing online sources of data and therefore it may be necessary to indicate information like the CAS Registry Number or the entry name so that someone else can locate the exact information that was cited.

 

For more information consult the ACS Style Guide:  Effective Communication of Scientific Communication, 3rd edition (Sciences and Technology Library Reference QD 8.5 A25 2006). 

Intro to ACS Style

ACS style is the standard style used in chemistry.  The ACS Style Guide is available in print and online format.  Chapter 14 of the guide includes examples of different types of references. 

ACS suggests citing references in text in three ways:

  • By superscript numbers - numbers are listed in the text starting with

    • Oscillation in the reaction of benzaldehyde with oxygen was reported previously.3

    • The syntheses described by Fraser3 take advantage of carbohydrate topology.

    • Journal examples:  Journal of the American Chemical Society, Journal of Organic Chemistry

    • References should be numbered sequentially.  If a reference is cited more than once, it does not receive a new number.

  • By italic numbers in parentheses - numbers are listed in the text starting with (1)

    • Oscillation in the reaction of benzaldehyde with oxygen was reported previously (6).

    • Jensen (6) reported oscillation in the reaction of benzaldehyde with oxygen.

    • References should be numbered sequentially.  If a reference is cited more than once, it does not receive a new number.

  • By author name and year of publication in parentheses (author-date system) - no longer used in ACS Journals:

    • 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).

 

Introduction to ACS Style

ACS style is the standard style used in chemistry.  The ACS Style Guide is available in print and online format.  Chapter 14 of the guide includes examples of different types of references. References are arranged either by number or alphabetically by author, depending upon which type of in-text citations are used. 

In–Text Option

Organization of Reference List

 

Superscript1

(most common style)

Arranged numerically - numbers are listed in the text starting with 

Example:

Italic numbers (1)

Arranged numerically - numbers are listed in the text starting with (1)

Example: 

  • Oscillation in the reaction of benzaldehyde with oxygen was reported previously (6).
  • Jensen (6) reported oscillation in the reaction of benzaldehyde with oxygen.

Author/year  (Smith, 2012)

(not very common - used primarily in books)

 

Alphabetically by author

Example:

  • 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).

 

Citing Data from Web Sites

Web sites can be government sites, organization sites, course web sites or personal home pages.  Some websites are considered databases and should be cited as a database.  See the information on databases listed below.  Databases include a reference number or other identifying information along with one or more search options.  

General Features of Web Sites:

·        accessible on the Internet

·        no page numbers

·        information cited is located at the URL provided – no additional searching is required

Where to Find Citation Information:  Look at the About Us links, Contact Us links, Copyright link, copyright information at the bottom of the search screen, links with the word Citation or Cite.  If a sample citation is provided it may not be in ACS Style.

Basic Format:  Author, A. A. (if any). Title of Site. URL (accessed Month Day, Year), other identifying information (if any).

Web Site Examples

Home page

Winter, M.  WebElements:  the periodic table on the WWW. http://www.webelements.com  (accessed Feb 1, 2013).

Specific section of a web site

Winter, M.  Vanadium: the essentials. WebElements: the periodic table on the WWW. http://www.webelements.com/vanadium/ (accessed Feb 1, 2013).

Citing Data from a Database

A database is a website that has a collection of information such as citations to journal articles, physical property data, or spectra.  A database includes a search feature and individual records matching the query are retrieved.  Most databases will include some unique identifier that will allow the user to retrieve that specific information again.  Examples include:  accession number, entry number, CAS registry number, or chemical name.

General Features of Databases:

·        accessible on the Internet

·        includes a search option

·        individual entries identified by a unique number or an identifier such as a chemical name

Where to Find Citation Information:  Look at the About Us links, copyright link, copyright information at the bottom of the search screen, links with the word Citation or Cite. If a sample citation is provided it may not be in ACS Style.

Basic Format:  Author, A. A. (if any).  Title of Site. Publisher: Place of Publication; Other identifying information such as the chemical name, CAS registry number or entry number with a number being preferred.  URL* (accessed Month Day, Year). 

*Include home page URL for subscription sites without the proxy information. To access subscription sites a proxy server is used to indicate that University of Manitoba students are allowed to access the site and uml.idm.oclc.org  is added to the URL.  When citing remove the proxy server information.  In order to get the URL without the proxy information one option is to search for the database name using Google and copy the URL.  Be as concise as possible.  For instance, use https://scifinder.cas.org not https://scifinder.cas.org/scifinder/login.

Database Examples

Online database

Royal Society of Chemistry. ChemSpider;  Caffeine, CSID=2424; http://www.chemspider.com/Chemical-Structure.2424.htm  (accessed June 15, 2011). 


National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database; CID=7843, https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/7843 (accessed Jan 20, 2016).

Online subscription database (URL includes proxy information from the library -uml.idm.oclc.org)

Dictionary of Organic Compounds; Taylor and Francis: Boca Raton, FL, 2017; RN 110-82-7; http://doc.chemnetbase.com (accessed Feb 12, 2017).

Include home page URL for subscription sites without the proxy information. Example: Do not include uml.idm.oclc.org

RN is the Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number or CAS Number.

Online subscription database (URL includes proxy information from the library - uml.idm.oclc.org)

Merck Index Online; Royal Society of Chemistry:  Cambridge, UK, 2017; Cyclohexane; https://www.rsc.org/merck-index (accessed Mar 27, 2014).  

Include home page URL for subscription sites without the proxy information.  Example: Do not include uml.idm.oclc.org

SciFinder  (spectra)

SciFinder; Chemical Abstracts Service: Columbus, OH; carbon-13; NMR spectrum; spectrum ID CC-03-C_SPC-3734; RN 50-52-2;  https://scifinder.cas.org (accessed June 9, 2017). 

Include home page URL for subscription sites without the proxy information.  Example: Do not include uml.idm.oclc.org

RN is the Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number or CAS Number.

SciFinder  (calculated data)

SciFinder; Chemical Abstracts Service: Columbus, OH; Density; RN 50-52-2; https://scifinder.cas.org (accessed June 9, 2010); calculated using ACD/Labs software, version 11.01; ACD/Labs 1994-2013. 

Include home page URL for subscription sites without the proxy information.  Example: Do not include uml.idm.oclc.org

RN is the Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number or CAS Number.

Spectral data from online database

   

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).  Spectral Database for Organic Compounds (SDBS); mass spectrum; SDBS No.: 4778; RN 87-86-5; http://riodb01.ibase.aist.go.jp/sdbs/ (accessed June 14, 2017).

RN is the Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number or CAS Number.

Citing Data from Safety Data Sheets (formerly called Material Safety Data Sheets)

Basic Format: Title; MSDS Number; [Online]; Manufacturing Company:  Location of Company, Date. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).

Material Safety Data Sheets Examples

Online SDS

Acetic Anhydride; SDS No. A0338; [Online]; Mallinckrodt Baker:  Phillipsburg, NJ., Feb 18, 2003.  http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/a0338.htm (accessed Dec 12, 2012).


Acetic Anhydride; SDS No. 539996; [Online]; Sigma-Aldrich Canada: Oakville, ON, Oct 4, 2017. https://www.sigmaaldrich.com/safety-center.html (accessed April 11, 2018)

SDS obtained from a database source such as CCOHS

Titanium Dioxide; SDS No. T3627; Mallinckrodt Baker: Phillipsburg , NJ , November 12, 2003. Available from Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. http://ccinfoweb.ccohs.ca (accessed Apr 14, 2005).

Citing Data from Online Books

An online book generally corresponds to the printed version.  Cite books like print-based books but add [Online] after the title.  Page numbers are usually available.  Some online books also have interactive tables that do not have page numbers.  Cite the table and indicate the substance or other identifying name in the table instead of the page number.

General Features of Online Books

·        page numbers available

·        table of contents and chapters usually available

·        sometimes have interactive tables without page numbers

Where to Find Citation Information:  Some online books will provide a basic citation.  Look for the words Citation or something like Cite this Book.  These citations will not necessarily be in ACS style but will give you clues as to what information to cite.  Also check the Front Matter section, Preface or book cover.

Basic Format for Online Books with Editors:

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Chapter Title.  In Book Title [Online]; Editor 1, Editor, etc. Eds.; Series Information (if any); Publisher:  Place of Publication, Year; Volume Number, Pagination or Name of Compound or other identifying information; URL* (accessed Month Day, Year). 

*Include home page URL for subscription sites without the proxy information. To access subscription sites a proxy server is used to indicate that University of Manitoba students are allowed to access the site and uml.idm.oclc.org  is added to the URL.  When citing remove the proxy server information.  In order to get the URL without the proxy information one option is to search for the database name using Google and copy the URL.  Be as concise as possible.  For instance, use https://scifinder.cas.org not https://scifinder.cas.org/scifinder/login.

Online Book Examples

Interactive Table from an Online Book with Editor (example 1)

Physical Constants of Chemical SubstancesIn Dictionary of Substances and Their Effects. 3rd Electronic Edition.  [Online]; Gangolli, S. Ed.; Royal Society of Chemistry: Cambridge, 2005; RN 67-64-1; https://app.knovel.com (accessed Jan 30, 2017). 

Include home page URL for subscription sites without the proxy information. Example: Do not include uml.idm.oclc.org

Interactive Table from an Online Book  with Editor (example 2)

Physical Constants of Organic Compounds. In CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. 99th ed.; [Online];  Rumple, J. R., Ed.; CRC Press/Taylor and Francis: Boca Raton, FL, 2018; RN 110-82- 7; http://www.hbcponline.com (accessed Oct 1, 2017). 

Include home page URL for subscription sites without the proxy information. Example: Do not include uml.idm.oclc.org

 

 

Citing Data from Print Books

Where to Find Citation Information:  Check the title page and copyright information page.

Basic Format of Print Book with Author (no editors)

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

Basic Format of Print Book with Editors

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

Print Books Examples

Edited Book

The Merck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals, 12th ed.; Budavari, S.; O'Neal, M.J.; Smith, A.; Heckelman, P. E.; Kinneary, J. F., Eds.; Merck & Co.: Whitehouse Station, NJ, 1996; entry 4857.

Edited Book

CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 89th ed.; Lide, D.R., Ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2008; Section 3, No. 339.

Book with Author Emsley, J. The Elements; Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1998; p. 90.

Data set compilation

The Sadtler Spectra:  300 MHz Proton NMR Standards; Bio-Rad, Sadtler Div.:  Philadelphia, PA, 1994; no. 7640 (1-Chloropentane).

 

Citing Data from Journal Articles

ACS Style includes two variations in citing journal articles:  one that omits the title of the article, and one that includes it.  Many publications following ACS style do not normally include the article title in the citation. ACS style uses abbreviations of the journal titles.  One source to locate journal abbreviations is the CAS Source Index.

Electronic journals - if the journal only publishes electronically or if the online version is different from the print version, then it may be appropriate to include information about the online access.  This should include the date you accessed it, and either the DOI, the article URL or the database.

Journal Examples

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

OR

Author 1; Author 2; Author 3; etc. Journal Abbreviation Year, Volume, Inclusive Pagination. 

Without article title (commonly used)

Schöne, B. R.; Zhang, Z.; Jacob, D.; Gillikin, D. P.; Tütken, T.; Garbe-Schönberg, D.; McConnaughey, T.; Soldati, A. Geochem. J. 2010, 44, 23-37.

 

With article title

Schöne, B. R.; Zhang, Z.; Jacob, D.; Gillikin, D. P.; Tütken, T.; Garbe-Schönberg, D.; McConnaughey, T.; Soldati, A.  Effect of Organic Matrices on the Determination of the Trace Element Chemistry (Mg, Sr, Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca) of Aragonitic Bivalve Shells (Arctica islandica) —Comparison of ICP-OES and LA-ICP-MS Data.  Geochem. J. 2010, 44, 23-37.

   

YouTube Vidoes

General Format

Author 1; Author 2; …; Author 10; et al. Title of Audio or Video. Title of Program or Series. Title of Site or Organization, date. URL (accessed Sept. 20, 2020).

video on YouTube; the author is the organization American Chemical Society. Game of Thrones Science: Sword Making and Valyrian Steel. Reactions. YouTube, April 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHRcGoje4j4 (accessed Feb. 28, 2019).
video on YouTube; the authors are the creators of the video Consell, R.; Zamieroski, K.; Gentleman, D.; Waghorn, N.; Dylewski, A. Game of Thrones Science: Sword Making and Valyrian Steel. Reactions. American Chemical Society. YouTube, April 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHRcGoje4j4 (accessed Feb. 02, 2019).

 

Exceptions

The following example appears to be more like a database but the Citation Guide on its website indicates that this source should be cited as a book.

NIST Chemistry WebBook  

Stein, S. E. Infrared Spectra. In NIST Chemistry WebBook; Linstrom, P.; Mallard, W.G.; NIST Standard Reference Database Number 69; National Institute of Standards and Technology:  Gaithersburg, MD, June 2005; RN 108-88-3; http://webbook.nist.gov (accessed on Aug. 13, 2012). 

ACS Guidelines for Citing Data

The above examples were developed based on the following guidelines from the ACS Style Guide:

 

“References to data should include the data entry number or other identifying information at the end of the citation.  The date of access can also be included if the database is updated frequently.  If the data retrieved are calculated data, also cite the software used for the calculation (for example, ACD/Labs).”  (ACS Style Guide, p. 324)

 

“Data sets are compilations of data, such as spectra or property tables. These data sets are often published serially as loose-leaf services, but the content is not always organized in chapters as in other serial publications. The citation of a serial data set should contain the title of the data set, the publisher, the place of publication, the date of the volume, the data entry number (as opposed to the data value), and the name of the figure or other identifying information. The page number can be included in the citation if page numbers are used in the index of the data set.  (ACS Style Guide, p. 314)

 

“For material other than books and journals, sufficient information must be provided so that the source can be identified and located.”  (ACS Style Guide, p. 290).

Other Resources for Citing Books, Journals and Other References

The following resources provide examples of citing other types of references such as books and journal articles using ACS Style. 

ACS Style Guide – See Chapter 14 References

ACS Citation Style - Concordia University Libraries

ACS Style Guidelines – UW- Madison Libraries

 

Subject Guide

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