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Scientific Research and Communication — Citation

Developing Communication Competencies for STEM Students


There are several types of citation that can be used in scientific writing, like ACS citation or IEEE citation.  Be sure to ask your professor or the academic journal you are thinking of submitting your work to, what type of citation they require.

Why is Citation Important?

Whenever you quote, paraphrase, summarize, or otherwise refer to the work of another, you must cite the source.

Your citations are like your paper's family tree. They show the difference between the ideas of others that you are responding to, and your own originality. Citation helps to clearly document the research you have done on your topic, and is very useful as you evaluate evidence and respond to the work of others.


  • Give credit where credit is due
  • Allow your readers to verify your research
  • Help your readers situate your ideas within a scholarly conversation
  • Allow you to strengthen your argument by properly introducing evidence
  • Help you avoid plagiarism

If you have any questions about citations, you can use the Ask a Librarian Chat for help.

American Chemical Society (ACS) Style Guides

APA Manual Style Guides

Online Citation Tools

The tools provided here are useful for quickly creating a few citations in common styles.

If you need to create a long bibliography, or want software that will help you create in-text citations, we recommend looking at the Citation Management Tools page on this guide.

Remember: It is always your responsibility to double-check that your citation is accurate! 

If you're not sure, double-check using one of the citation guides on this site.