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Chemistry Resources: ACS Style

The ACS Style Guide

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The most used sections of the manual are in the References portion 4.3.

4.3.2 Creating References - in text citation options

4.3.3  ACS Style Quick Guide - basic info on the bibliography and reference list

4.3.5 Reference Formatting & Examples by Source Types - more in-depth information on bibliographic and reference list

Styles such as ACS and AMA require an abbreviated journal title in the reference list.  This can be tricky to do if the journal did not publish the abbreviation on the article itself.  But there is an easy way to construct one.  Both styles use the same formatting, and they stay standard every time that word is used in a title.  Once you know how a particular word is abbreviated, you can use it over and over.

First try CAS Source Index (CASSI) Search Tool first. LInk below. If the journal is not listed, move on to step the directions for using PubMed.

AMA Style Journal Abbreviations

One of the major hallmarks of AMA is the use of abbreviated journal titles. This makes AMA Style more complicated to learn than APA or MLA and complicates the use of citation management software greatly.  It is still possible to use programs like Endnote or RefWorks, but you will often need to add the abbreviation to the imported record.

There are official rules for how each title is abbreviated in the manual but a fast way to find the correct abbreviation is to use PubMed.  Journals indexed by PubMed will have the abbreviation listed in the database. 

Keep in mind:

  • Single-word journal titles are not abbreviated. Example: Lancet
  • Journal is abbreviated J
  • In journal titles, capitalize all major words (Do not capitalize the, an, a, in, for, or but, unless this word begins the title.)
  • Not all journals are in PubMed and may require manually compiling the abbreviation. Section 13.10 has more information and a list of common journal titles but more information is included below if you do not have access to the manual.

Using Pubmed to Find Abbreviations

  • Use the link to the PubMed catalog above
  • Search the journal - if it appears you are in luck!Image title - NLM Catalog: Journals referenced in the NCBI Databases.  Displays a search box for the catalog with the journal title The journal of peptide research : official journal of the American Peptide Society inserted into the bar
  • The NLM Title Abbreviation will appear on the record for the journal Item record for the journal of peptide research with the abbreviation J Pept Res circled in red

Journal is not in PubMed

If the journal is not in PubMed it may be in section 13.10 of the manual OR you can construct the abbreviation manually. 

To make an abbreviation, a simple trick is to use the PubMed catalog and look up other journals that share the same words in the title.  Each title word is always abbreviated the same way.  For example, if you want to know how to abbreviate the Journal of Education Policy, which is not itself in PubMed, you can look up any journal with the word education in the title and find that it is abbreviated Educ.  Do the same for Policy and find it is spelled out and not abbreviated. So the correct format for this title would be J Educ Policy

Common Abbreviations:

  • Academic - Acad
  • Advanced - Adv
  • American - Am
  • Annals - Ann
  • Archives - Arch
  • Dental - Dent
  • Journal - J
  • Medicine - Med
  • Nursing - Nurs