How to Use CSE Style While Drafting Scientific Manuscripts


What is CSE Style Guide?

CSE stands for Council of Science Editors. Originated in the 1960s, CSE was known as the Council of Biology Editors (CBE) style. It was intended to provide style and formatting guidelines for editors of peer-reviewed biology journals. Over the years, it grew to include many fields of scientific research in both the life sciences and physical sciences field. In the year 2000, the CBE organization became the Council of Science Editors (CSE) and the style became the CSE style.

The CSE style indicates a specific style for citing original information and drafting a publication-ready and plagiarism-free research manuscript. The CSE style is used by researchers in the field of sciences, including: Biology, Ecology, Zoology, and Medicine.

General Formatting and Citation Guidelines of CSE Style Guide

While there is no standard format to follow in CSE, scientific writers must follow the journal’s or institution’s standards for formatting manuscripts. However, here are some general guidelines to follow while formatting your manuscript in CSE Style:

  • The reference list must be organized depending on the type of documentation system used throughout the manuscript.
  • While using citation-sequence, all citations must be listed in the numerical order of its appearance in the text.
  • While using citation-name system, first alphabetize all the citations by authors’ last names, then number them in the text by the order they appear in the list of references.
  • In the name-year system, the citations are alphabetized by authors’ last names.
  • All main text paragraphs must be left-aligned with no hanging indentations.
  • Authors’ last names must be listed first, then the first and middle initial (if available). No punctuations are used in between the last name and first initial. Additionally, no periods are used in between initials. Example: Roberts BM
  • All authors’ names up to ten authors must be listed, if available. If a work includes more than ten authors, list the first ten authors’ names followed by a comma and “et al.”
  • Titles of books and articles must not be italicized, placed in quotation marks, or underlined while citing. Except for the first letter of the title and proper nouns existing in the title, no other words must be capitalized.
  • Journal titles with more than one word are abbreviated and all the abbreviated titles are capitalized.
  • While including URLs in citations, doo not end the citations with a period.

How to Cite Sources in CSE Style?

CSE uses three documentation systems. The journals and institution guidelines must be referred to before following any of the documentation styles for your manuscript.

Citation-Sequence System

Superscripted numbers are inserted at the point of reference in the text, and sequentially numbered in the order of their appearance. While citing more than one reference within one sentence use a superscript sequence of numbers2,3. The citations are then listed numerically at the end of the manuscript in the references page.

Citing Sources in Citation-Sequence System

Print Journal Article Citing Format

Author(s) name. Article title. Abbreviated journal title. Date; volume(issue):page numbers.

Digital Journal Article Citing Format

 Author(s) name. Article title. Abbreviated journal title [Internet]. Date [cited date];volume(issue):page numbers. Available from: web address. Include the DOI number, article or document number (if available).

Dissertation/Thesis Citing Format

Author(s) name.  Title of dissertation or thesis [content designator – dissertation or thesis].  Place of publication:  Publisher; date.

Technical Report Citation Format

Author(s) name.  Title of report.  Edition.  Place of publication:  Publisher; date. Report No.:  Notes.

Conference Paper Citation Format

Author(s) of paper.  Title of paper.  In: Editor(s).  Title of book.  Number and name of conference; date of conference; place of conference.  Place of publication: Publisher; date.  Location.  p. page numbers of the paper.

Citation-Name System

Superscripted numbers are inserted at the point of reference similar to citation-sequence system. However, the citations are numbered alphabetically by the author’s last name as cited in the work and not in the order of appearance.

Citing Sources in Citation-Name System

Print Journal Article Citing Format

Author(s) name. Article title. Abbreviated journal title. Date; volume(issue):page numbers.

Digital Journal Article Citing Format

Author(s) name. Article title. Abbreviated journal title [Internet]. Date [cited date];volume(issue):page numbers. Available from: web address. Include the DOI number, article or document number (if available).

Dissertation/Thesis Citing Format

Author(s) name.  Title of dissertation or thesis [content designator – dissertation or thesis].  Place of publication:  Publisher; date.

Technical Report Citing Format

Author(s) name.  Title of report.  Edition.  Place of publication:  Publisher; date. Report No.:  Notes.

Conference Paper Citing Format

Author(s) of paper.  Title of paper.  In: Editor(s).  Title of book.  Number and name of conference; date of conference; place of conference.  Place of publication: Publisher; date.  Location.  p. page numbers of the paper.

Name-Year System

The name-year system refers to citing works of authors in the body of the paper using the in-text style. This in-text style for citations includes the author’s name and the year of publication within parentheses. The citations are listed alphabetically by the author’s surname at the end of the manuscript in the references page.

Citing Sources in Name-Year System

Print Journal Article Citing Format

Author’s(s’) name(s). Date. Article Title. Abbreviated journal title. Volume(issue):page numbers.

Digital Journal Article Citing Format

Author’s(s’) name(s). Date. Article Title. Abbreviated journal title [Internet]. [cited date]; volume(issue): page numbers. Available from: web address (include the DOI number, article or document number, if available)

Dissertation/Thesis Citing Format

Author(s) name.  Date.  Title of dissertation or thesis [content designator -dissertation or thesis].  Place of publication: Publisher.

Technical Report Citing Format

Author(s) name.  Date.  Title of report.  Edition.  Place of publication:  Publisher. Report No.:  Notes.

Conference Paper Citing Format

Author(s) of paper.  Date.  Title of paper.  In: Editor(s).  Title of book.  Number and name of conference; date of conference; place of conference.  Place of publication: Publisher.  Location.  p. page numbers of the paper.

Did you ever receive rejection for not abiding by the journal’s or institution’s recommended style guide? Which writing styles have you used while drafting a scientific manuscript? Did you find it difficult to follow the guidelines mentioned by your instructor? How often have you followed the CSE style guide? Let us know how this article helped you in drafting a publication-ready manuscript using CSE style. You can also visit our Q&A forum for frequently asked questions related to different aspects of research writing and publishing answered by our team that comprises subject-matter experts, eminent researchers, and publication experts.