Though scientific publications document sources in similar ways, the details of presenting source information vary from journal to journal. Often publications provide prospective authors with style sheets that outline formats for presenting sources. Before submitting an article to a scientific publication, you should request its style sheet. If one is not available, examine a copy of the publication to see how sources are documented. When writing for a science course, check with your instructor about how to cite and list your sources.
Most biologists, zoologists, earth scientists, geneticists, and other scientists use one of three systems of documentation specified by the Council of Science Editors in Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (7th ed., 2006).
In the CSE name-year system, the author of the source is named in the text and the date is given in parentheses. The APA documentation section describes an author-date system that is similar to the CSE name-year system.
In the CSE citation-sequence system, each source cited in the paper is given a number the first time it appears in the text. Anytime the source is referred to again, the text is marked with the same number. At the end of the paper, a list of references provides full publication information for each numbered source. Entries in the reference list are numbered in the order in which they are mentioned in the paper.
In the CSE citation-name system, the list of references is first put in alphabetical order and then the entries are numbered in that order. Those numbers are used in the text to cite the sources from the list. This section describes formatting of in-text citations and the reference list in all three systems and gives specific models for entries in a citation-sequence reference list.