Learn the Uniqueness of CSE and Use It in Academic Writing

You have passed a long way to create a paper of your dreams. You have spent days and nights researching primary and secondary sources. Now it is time to edit and proofread your paper. However, before you do it, you will also need to make sure that your paper was properly formatted and cited. Among dozens of formatting rules and citation styles, you may find it daunting to use the proper one. Most of the time, your teacher will tell you what style to use in your paper. Nevertheless, it is your responsibility that all sources have been properly credited and cited in the body of your paper. You must also create a list of references according to CSE.

Council of Science Editors (CSE)/ and Council of Biology Editors (CBE)

The Council for Science Editors (CSE) is a popular scientific organization that was created to promote a positive image of the scientific community. This organization is well-known for having created a new style of formatting – CSE. It is the style for referencing and formatting works in biology. At times, you will see that CSE is referred to as CBE – this is because the organization was founded at the end of the 1950s as the Council of Biological Editors (CBE). In most cases, you will have to use CSE as an abbreviation for this formatting and citation style.

The Fundamentals

Learn the basic rules for CSE formatting:

  • Margins. Your margins should not exceed 1 inch on all sides.
  • Indentation. Every new paragraph should be indented 0.5 inch of the margin. You will also need to use indentation with block quotations. Use a hanging indent when formatting the list of references.
  • Font. There are no specific requirements for font and size in CSE. However, it is still preferable if you use Times New Roman, 12 pt.
  • Page numbers. All pages must be numbered in order, from the first to the last page, and page numbers should be put in the right upper corner of each page, including the title page.
  • Spacing. All papers, from the title page to the list of references, should be double-spaced.
  • Title page. The title page is the first thing the reader will see when reading your paper. So, include the title of your paper. Your name should be placed three quarters lower, and the name of your institution, your professor’s name and the date of your assignment should be printed at the very bottom of the page.
  • Running heads. You may want to include an abridged version of the full title. Present it as a header. It should appear right next to the page number in the upper right corner of the page.

Typical Mistakes

Numbers

For the exception of one and zero, CBE requires using numerals for all numbers. At the same time, you should use words for:

  • Any numbers put at the beginning of the sentence (Twenty-two generals had to attend the meeting).
  • Fractions (one-quarter, etc.)
  • Ordinal numbers (third, seventh, second, etc.).

Headings

You must center all major headings, e.g., abstract, methods, literature review, and so on. They should also be types in all caps. All headings must be double-spaced, as well as the entire body of the paper. Subheadings should be used to make the text more comprehensive. Subheadings in CSE should also be centered. However, they should go in a sentence case and be italicized.

Serial comma

Serial comma is a distinctive feature of the CSE style, and it is a must if you list something in a series of notions or events (e.g., They brought manuals, papers, and pencils with them).

Foreign words

Any words that are non-English should be placed in italics.

Organization

Any CSE-formatted paper should be organized following this format: Abstract, a section for Introduction, a Methods section, followed by Results, Discussion and Recommendation, and References. Each of these sections may have one or more subsections. However, only the sections listed above can serve as main headings in the paper. If the paper does not include the results of original studies, then other headings can be used.

Tables and Figures

CSE requires that figures and tables be included in the text the moment they are mentioned. However, it is better to put them closer to the top or bottom of this page. All tables and figures must be labeled and numbered sequentially. For instance, Table 1, Table 2, Table 3, etc. When a figure or table is referenced in the text, it should be mentioned in parentheses (e.g., Table 1). Figure descriptions should also include a citation for the sources from which it was taken.  Every figure and table must have a title. It must be numbered. The number must be placed above the table or figure. The description should be placed below it.

Citations

You are free to choose among two different citation styles: name-year or citation-sequence styles.

Citation-sequence

If you decide to use the citation-sequence style, then you will need to number all citations sequentially, using numbers either in parentheses or a superscript. Do not omit any numbers and do not use them more than once. They should be unique and coincide with the list of sources on the Reference page. This is how a sample paragraph using the citation-sequence style could look: 

Experimental research has proved to provide researchers in biology and other sciences with a whole arsenal of instruments to produce reliable and valid study evidence.2 The advantages of experimental research in biology have been extensively documented.3 However, non-participant observations are still the most popular and productive strategy for doing research in biology.4 

It is possible to mention more than one reference, using a comma. At the same time, no one forbids you from using the same source more than once. If that is the case, you will use the same number (e.g., 2 or 3) in all sentences that feature this source. Just make sure that the number is correct and coincides with the number of that source on your list of references.

Book with Only One Author

1. Jerry, KM. See how the plants grow. Washington, DC: Random House; 1977.

*Remember: Capitalize only the first word of the book’s title.

Book with Two Authors

2. Heiden, DC, Johnson, AM. The best birds in the world. New York (NY): Nature Publishers; 1980.

Book Chapter

3. Lee, SS. How wetlands evolve. In: Crohn, LA, Lee, SS, editors. Wetlands are our future. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press; 2011.

Online Book/e-Book

4. Harrison, QO, Johnson, AM. The best birds in the world. [Internet]. New York: Nature Publishers; 1980. [Accessed 20 June 2013]. Available from: example.com.

Journal Article

5. Jameson, AH, Linden, VC. How wetlands change under the impacts of pollution. Ecol Envir. 2015;19(1): 140-44.

*Note: In CSE all journal titles must be used in an abbreviated form. See the list of abbreviated journal titles here.

Website

6. Wetlands are everything [Internet]. Washington DC: Songbirds Society of Humans, 24 August 2015 [11 January 2017]. Available from example.com.

Name-year

When you use the name-year style of CSE citation, you will include the name of the author and year of publication in parentheses. In this case, your CSE formatting will resemble APA and MLA. This is how a sample paragraph using name-author formatting should look:

Experimental research has proved to provide researchers in biology and other sciences with a whole arsenal of instruments to produce reliable and valid study evidence (Johnson 1998). The advantages of experimental research in biology have been extensively documented (Alwood 2005). However, non-participant observations are still the most popular and productive strategy for doing research in biology (Jameson & Linden 2015).

When using a direct quotation, a page number must be included. For example, (Alwood 2005, p. 114). At the same time, all sources must be organized by alphabet. Alphabetize the list of references by the author’s last name. Develop a list of cited references. All entries on the list of references will follow the same format as for the citation-sequence style. At the same time, you will not need to number the sources mentioned in the name-year style of CSE referencing.

Book with Only One Author

Jerry, KM. See how the plants grow. Washington, DC: Random House; 1977.

*Remember: Capitalize only the first word of the book’s title.

Book with Two Authors

Heiden, DC, Johnson, AM. The best birds in the world. New York (NY): Nature Publishers; 1980.

Book Chapter

Lee, SS. How wetlands evolve. In: Crohn, LA, Lee, SS, editors. Wetlands are our future. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press; 2011.

Online Book/e-Book

Harrison, QO, Johnson, AM. The best birds in the world. [Internet]. New York: Nature Publishers; 1980. [Accessed 20 June 2013]. Available from: example.com.

Journal Article

Jameson, AH, Linden, VC. How wetlands change under the impacts of pollution. Ecol Envir. 2015;19(1): 140-44.

*Note: In CSE all journal titles must be used in an abbreviated form. See the list of abbreviated journal titles here.

Website

Wetlands are everything [Internet]. Washington DC: Songbirds Society of Humans, 24 August 2015 [11 January 2017]. Available from example.com.