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CBE Citation Formatting Style Guide: Making Your First Steps on the Way to Biology Field

CBE citation
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The Council of Biology Editors (CBE) citation style, also known as the CSE (Council of Science Editors) citation style, is primarily used in the biological sciences and other fields of scientific study. It is a method of referencing that allows writers to acknowledge sources that they have used in their work.

The CBE/CSE style offers several methods of citing your sources, but the most commonly used are the Name-Year (N-Y) system and the Citation-Sequence (C-S) system.

This article explains how to create CBE citations and format reference using 2 systems. Dive deep to learn the format and find examples. 

One of the best ways to get a perfect CBE citation is to place an order with the professional online writing service, which is competent in biology and many other academic fields.

CBE Citation Format: What Is It About?

We are going to start with the definition of the CBE citation format. CBE refers to The Council of Biology Editors, and it is one more publication style, which is widely used by the professional writers and students involved in various scientific fields. Those fields include biology, healthcare & nursing, chemistry, anatomy, physics, etc. The main difficulty associated with this specific writing style is the fact it introduces a couple of opposite documentation systems: Citation-Sequence and Name-Year.

The Citation-Sequence System (C-S System)

The primary system is more used and effective. It involves a full bibliography in the shape of References page and the in-text quotations, direct & indirect, arranged in a numerical way. The corresponding numbers of quotes appear in a sequent order in the document/essay. They show the matching entries in the bibliography. References page shows up at the end of the research paper, after the conclusion section (it is a separate page). Citation-Sequence allows conserving some space. The minuses are present as well:

  • The audience has to try hard to discover which sources are referents for corresponding in-text quotes;
  • The authors of applied sources are less distinguished because their names do not pop up in the paper’s body;
  • It is complicated to delete or come up with new sources while working on the final steps.

The Name-Year System (N-Y System)

The Name-Year approach is more elaborate and detailed. The writer shares full data on the cited sources in the list of references and in-text quotations to let it be easier for the reader to find the used literature. Each quote in the body contains the full author’s name, date of publication, and page numbers (optional). The bibliographical entries show up in the alphabetical order. The main benefits of the system are:

  • It is easier to delete or come up with new sources and data while working on the final steps;
  • The approach allows recalling the dates and authors names to share the minimum context with the reading audience.

A couple of cons include the fact that multiple quotes may appear to be distracting, and the bibliography page entries are more complex in contrast to the C-S method.

CBE Citation Guide with Examples

According to the official CBE citation guide, each time a writer needs to refer to a certain source, he/she should insert a superscript number next to the quoted part of the text. How does the endnote/footnote numbers look? That is the way a person may refer a particular source:

“In her lengthy work, Lawson ¹ offers a detailed description of this concept.”

In this approach to CBE citing, the given number provides a reference to the corresponding bibliography entry. It has the same number. Later in the process of writing, it is okay to add this number after every in-text quotation. The writer must provide numbers for the quotations in a sequent manner, and the bibliography list entries must show up beginning from the initial quotation and further through the paper’s body.

If the writer plans to include CBE citations from different sources at a time, it is important to enumerate the quotations numbers in superscript and locate commas between the latter. If the writer enumerates a consecution of more than 3 entries, it is necessary to provide full quotations for the 1st and final numbers. Do not forget to include a dash between them.

Students who need an example of CBE citation style should use the following:

“It is difficult to conclude something specific on the discussed research problem as various groups of scientists came up with different results; it occurred both under the conditions mentioned at the beginning of the study 3, 7, 12, 17 and when the samples were examined in separate, tiny groups.”

While providing a reference to the “second-hand” source (CBE style citation in one of the sources a writer is using), do not forget a “cited-in” word mix should appear in the superscript citation.

In separate cases, the superscript text is not available. In such situations, the official guide of the organization offers to place the numbers of CBE style citation in parentheses.


“The sample population in the face of 15 people achieved the outcomes that were expected from the start (4).”

If a writer decides to use the N-Y CBE citing, the rules are different. Another system specifies the year of publication and the writer’s last name, and one has to mention the page numbers each time a direct CBE in-text citation is inserted. It is interconnected with the bibliography. Every reference to the writer’s name in the essay’s body must match a certain reference entry.

Every time a source does not relate to the writer’s name in a sentence, a student should quote the publication year along with the last name in parentheses.


“In his latest research (Monroe 2016)…”

The citation itself follow the name. Writers who decide to cite in a different way (at the end of the quotation) should specify the author’s name, year, and numbers of cited pages.

Example of such CBE style citation:

“In another similar research (Monroe 2016, p.50)…”

How Does CBE Citation Generator for References Look?

If you need to obtain accurate references to add to the reference list at the end of the paper, use free online CBE citation generator. Students can find plenty of them on the web. Title the list as “Cited References.” Include every single source you cited within the text.

Can’t you find a good CBE citation generator? Use this template to cite the cited works:

  • Title: Bibliography name (e.g., “Literature Cited”), which goes flush left; the title can be underlined/made bold, or the writer may apply some uppercase characters.
  • Spacing: the reference list entries should be single-spaced.
  • Font: CBE citation website tells references to appear in smaller type size compared to the rest of the research paper.
  • Order of Entries in Name-Date: the entries arrive in alphabetical sequence instead of numerical concerning the last names, which relate to the quotations in the essay.
  • Order of Entries in Citation-Sequence: the entries arrive numerical.

CBE Citation Website

CBE style citation is not complicated. Memorizing the guidelines is not necessary. Students and young writers may turn to the online academic writing services to get custom solutions, including the proper CBE citations & references. Another way to obtain a CBE citation is to use one of the free citation generators available on the web. If you have ever wondered who can write my term paper using the CBE citation format, StudyCrumb can do it. Make your choice!

Article posted on:May 6, 2022
Article updated on:May 12, 2023


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