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The Skidmore Guide to Writing

American Chemical Society (ACS) Bibliographic Form

Unlike the MLA and APA forms of documentation, a numerical system of citing references is most often used in technological and scientific disciplines such as engineering and chemistry. A reference number precedes each item on the list of references. This reference number should be in parentheses to separate it from the page numbers.


  • Make all lines flush with the left margin.
  • Numbers precede each citation. List citations consecutively.
  • Put authors' last names first, followed by a comma and initials. Do not alphabetize.
  • Use semicolons between more than one author; always list last name first.
  • Italicize the title; capitalize all major words.
  • Use a semicolon after the title.
  • List the publisher followed by a colon and city of publication, next comma and year of the publication; end with a period.
  • Single-space within entries; double-space between entries.

(1) Jones, A.; Smith B. Chemicals and Life; Test-tube Press: Boston, 1995.


  • Make all lines flush with the left margin.
  • Do not list the title of the article.
  • List the author, last name first.
  • List Journal title, year, volume, and page reference.
  • Abbreviate the title according to a standard list in the American Chemical Society Style Guide.
  • Italicize title.
  • Following the journal title, place the year in boldface or with a wavy underline, followed by a comma.
  • Italicize the volume number, followed by a single page number (where the article begins) and end with a period.

(2) Chemist, A. Chem. Rev. 1974, 74, 5.

Sample list of references in ACS format


(1) Ruzicka, J.; Hansen, E. H. Flow Injection Analysis, 1st ed.; Wiley: New York, 198 1.

(2) Olsen, S.; Pessenda, L. C. R.; Ruzicka, J.; Hansen, E. H. 1983, Analyst 108, 905.

(3) Hongbo, C.; Hansen, E. H.; Ruzicka, J. Anal. Chim. Acta 1985, 169, 209.

(4) Hansen, E. H.; Ruzicka, J.; Ghose, A. K. Anal. Chim. Acta 1978, 100, 151.

(5) Albert, A.; Serjeant, E. P. The Determination of Ionization Constants, 3rd ed.; Chapman and Hall: New York, 1984.

(6) Windheuser, J. J.; Higuchi, T J. Pharm. Sci. 1962, 51, 354.

(7) Carlin, H. S.; Perkins, A. J. Am. J. Hosp. Pharm. 1968, 25, 271.

(8) Newton, D. W; Kluza, R. B. Drug Intell. Clin. Pharm. 1978, 12, 546.

(9) CRC Handbook of Hormones, Vitamins, and Radiopaques; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 1986; 248.

(10) Williams, R. R.; Ruchle, A. E. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1935, 57, 1856.

(11) Cookson, R. E Chem. Rev. 1974, 74, 5.