February 27, 2017

We've Got Chemistry!

Chemistry set illustration

ACS Reference Style

Publishers of STM content often follow editorial styles developed by organizations of experts in their field of study. For example, a lot of medical publications follow AMA style, developed by the American Medical Association, or perhaps ICMJE/Vancouver style, curated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Psychology and other social sciences publications gravitate towards APA style, developed by the American Psychological Association. For the chemistry community, it is the American Chemical Society (ACS) that provides the resource of choice: The ACS Style Guide.

ACS Style provides guidelines for creating and disseminating clear, accurate, and ethically sound research that anyone in the greater STM publishing community will find helpful. As ACS Publications points out, “The ACS Style Guide is not just a resource for ACS authors, but is referenced by other publishers, even beyond chemistry”.

ACS Style requirements for references include a familiar list of reference elements.

For periodicals, references must include: References to books must include:
Author names Author or editor names
Journal title Book title
Year of publication Year of publication
Volume number (if present) Publisher
Pages City of publication

Examples of ACS References


  1. Perathoner, S.; Centi, G. A New Scenario for Green & Sustainable Chemical Production. J. Chin. Chem. Soc. 2014, 61, 719–730.
  2. Klingler, J. Chem. Mater. 2005, 17, 2755–2768.


  1. Le Couteur, P.; Burreson, J. Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History; Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam: New York, 2003; pp 32–47.
  2. Almlof, J.; Gropen, O. Relativistic Effects in Chemistry. In Reviews in Computational Chemistry; Lipkowitz, K. B., Boyd, D. B., Eds.; VCH: New York, 1996; Vol. 8, pp 206–210.

Where are the Article Titles?

One major difference between ACS and other editorial styles is that article titles aren’t required in many chemistry publications. The ACS Style Guide explains:

Article titles are not essential in reference citations, but they are considered desirable to highlight the contents of a paper and facilitate location in reference libraries. Some ACS publications include the article title in journal references, and some do not; check the publication itself.

Edifix offers two templates for ACS style to handle bibliographies destined for publications that do and do not require article titles:

  • ACS (American Chemical Society)
  • ACS (American Chemical Society - No Titles)

Select the “ACS (American Chemical Society)” template to Edifix references that should include article titles. Don’t need or want article titles in your references? Select the “ACS (American Chemical Society - No Titles)”.

A is for Accuracy

The ACS Style Guide highlights one of the most important factors in communicating scientific information: accuracy. Surely your research and data must be as accurate as possible, and so does your bibliography!

As you might have seen in many author guidelines, the burden of proofing bibliographies for accuracy and quality often falls on the author. The first sentence of the section, “Style for Reference Lists” in The ACS Style Guide is both bold and italicized to highlight this point: Authors are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of all references.

Authors are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of all references

It's All About the Links

Accurate references aren’t just for show. They give credibility to your work, and they help connect your publication to the greater scientific community through reference linking. The Journal of the American Chemical Society emphasizes this point in their Author Guidelines:

“In the Web edition, many of [the references] will have links to other Web resources, such as the corresponding abstracts in Chemical Abstracts and the full text on publisher Web sites. Because of this electronic linking, and to aid scientific research, it is crucial that authors verify the accuracy of all reference citations and footnotes.”

It is crucial that authors verify the accuracy of all reference citations and footnotes

Linking is one of the most valuable functions in electronic publishing, but to create and maintain these links, references need to be accurate. Cheryl Meyer explains this best in her article, Reference Accuracy: Best Practices for Making the Links:

In the pre-electronic world, faculty members would frequently send research assistants to the library building to copy journal articles they discovered in an article’s references. If the references contained major errors, retrieving the original articles became difficult.


Reference errors today interfere more fundamentally with a researcher’s ability to retrieve a work.

Today, reference linking is often automated, which means accurate reference data is vital for automation tools to successfully match your reference to the online resource. What makes Edifix special is that it can automate reference linking for references that do contain inaccuracies and then automatically correct those errors.

Automate Reference Proofing with Edifix

Proofing the accuracy of references is a tedious process when done by hand. Edifix will format your references according to ACS style, and it will also check the accuracy of your references by linking them to PubMed and Crossref. Edifix uses sophisticated algorithms to successfully link your references even if there are errors in your original reference list, such as a typo or missing piece of information. Edifix will make corrections or insert warnings for any mis-matched data, helping you ensure that your references are accurate.

Edifix will also insert PMIDs for references found in PubMed and DOIs for references matched to Crossref. PMIDs are the unique ids assigned to each article in the PubMed system that help researchers retrieve the correct record from the PubMed database. By including the DOI (Digital Object Identifiers) in your reference, other researchers will be able to access that cited material even if the publisher changes the location or URL. As ACS explains, “Each DOI is similar to a barcode...The identity of and access to an electronic information source is maintained through its DOI regardless of changes in location, format, or publisher.”

Click here to learn more about Edifix's Linking and Correction tools.

Edifix can help you meet the standards of quality and accuracy that ACS Style demands. Simply paste your references into Edifix, and let our intelligent reference processing tools copyedit your references to ACS style, correct your references using data from PubMed and Crossref, and insert PMIDs and DOIs for your sources. Chemists, rejoice! Edifix is your solution.

Link: https://edifix.com/blog/we-ve-got-chemistry