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Referencing guide: RSC

Royal Society of Chemistry referencing style

The RSC style is a numeric system used by authors in all of the Royal Society of Chemistry's publications. This referencing guide is to be used in conjunction with the Library's General guide to citing and referencing.

You may also find useful:

EndNote users can format their references using the Royal Society of Chemistry style file available in EndNote online/desktop.

Example of references using RSC

INITIALS. Author’s Surname, Book Title, Publisher, Place of publication, Edition (if not first), Year.

  • J. March, Advanced Organic Chemistry, Wiley, New York, 3rd edn., 1985.

- When a book has editors instead of authors:

Book Title, ed. INITIALS. Editor's Surname, Publisher, Place of Publication, Edition, Year.

  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, ed. W. M. Haynes and D. R. Lide, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 92nd edn., 2011.

- When a book is usually known by its title (no authors/editors):

Book Title, Publisher, Place of publication, Edition (if not first), Year.

  • British National Formulary: BNF 62, BMJ/Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2011

INITIALS. Author’s Surname, in Book Title, ed. Editor Name(s), Publisher, Place of publication, Edition (if not first), Year, Chapter, Pages.

  • J. Barker, in Catalyst Deactivation, ed. D. Belmon and C. Froment, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2nd edn., 1987, vol. 1, ch. 4, pp. 253-255.

Note: The 'ed.' in the example above stands for 'edited by' - this remains the same even if there are several editors. If the book has no editors this can be left out.

- If the conference proceedings have a named editor, use the same format as a chapter in an edited book:

INITIALS. Author of paper's Surname, in Proceedings Title, ed. INITIALS. Editor's Surname, Publisher, Place of Publication, Year, Pages.

  • S. Pullen, in Proceedings of the International Conference in Sustainability in Energy and Buildings (SEB'09), ed. R. J. Howlett, L. C. Jain and S. H. Lee, Springer, Brighton and Hove, 2009, pp. 325-337.

- For published conference proceedings that don't have a named editor, use the same format as a book:

INITIALS. Author of paper's Surname, Proceedings Title, Publisher, Place of Publication, Year.

  • H. C. Freeman, Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Coordination Chemistry, Toulouse, 1980.

- For material presented at a meeting, congress or before a Society, etc., but not published, the following form is used:

INITIALS. Name, presented in part at Conference Title, Place, Month, Year.

  • A. R. Jones, presented in part at the 28th Congress of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Vancouver, August, 1981.

Give an abbreviated version of the journal title following the recommendations given in the Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index (CASSI): http://cassi.cas.org/search.jsp. If you cannot find a recognised abbreviation for a journal, use its full title instead.

INITIALS. Author's Surname, Journal Title (abbr), Year, Volume, Pages.

  • M. Li, W. Zhu, F. Marken and T. D. James, Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 14562-14573.

- When page numbers are not yet known, articles should be cited by DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

  • T. J. Hebden, R. R. Schrock, M. K. Takase and P. Müller, Chem. Commun., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/C2CC17634C.

- For material accepted for publication, but not yet published, the following form is used:

  • A. R. Jones, Angew. Chem., in press.

- For material submitted for publication but not yet accepted, the following form is used:

  • A. R. Jones, Angew. Chem., submitted.

INITIALS. Lecturer's Surname, Unit name/Unit code/lecture title, Institution, unpublished, Year.

  • A. Smith, Organic Chemistry CH12345, University of Bath, unpublished, 2019.

Please note that the format for lecture notes has been adapted for RSC style by the University of Bath Library.

Patent country (abbr), Patent number, Year.

  • Ger. Pat., DE202014005037U1, 2014.
  • Eur. Pat., EP3399008A1, 2018.
  • US Pat., US2018306685-A1, 2018.

Please note that the format for patents has been adapted to match the output style in EndNote.

INITIALS, Author's Surname, Title, Department/Division Report Number, Publisher, Place of Publication, Year.

  • R. A. Allen, D. B. Smith and J. E. Hiscott, Radioisotope Data, UKAEA Research Group Report AERE-R 2938, H.M.S.O., London, 1961.
  • D. Li and K. P. Shine, A 4-Dimensional Ozone Climatology for UGAMP Models, UGAMP Internal Report No 35, Reading University, Reading, 1995.

Creator, Software Name (version), Publisher, Place of Publication, Year.

  • T. Bellander, M. Lewne and B. Brunekreef, GAUSSIAN 3 (revision B.05), Gaussian Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, 2003.

INITIALS. Author's Surname, Designation type, Name of Institution, Year.

  • A. D. Mount, PhD Thesis, University of London, 1977.
  • A. McMillen, MBA Dissertation, University of Bath, 2010.

For personal communications, the following is used:

  • G. B. Ball, personal communication.

For material that has yet to be submitted for publication:

  • G. B. Ball, unpublished work.

References to unpublished work should not be made without the permission of those by whom the work was performed.

Title of webpage, URL, (date accessed).

  • The Merck Index Online, https://www.rsc.org/merck-index, (accessed October 2018).
  • Combined Chemical Dictionary, http://ccd.chemnetbase.com/, (accessed October 2018).
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, http://hbcponline.com/, (accessed October 2018).

Note: Online equivalents of printed books and journal articles are referenced as if they were print books/articles (look for page numbers).

RSC is a numeric style, where citations are given within the text as superscripted.1 In-text numbers are matched to an entry in the Reference List. For example:

Elemental hydrogen is rarely found on earth as it is light enough to avoid gravity and move into space. It is predominantly found bonded to other elements e.g. in water and hydrocarbons.1

Reference:

  1.  A. Burrows, J. Holman, A. Parsons, G. Pilling and G. Price, Chemistry³, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2nd edn, 2013.

Once a source has been cited, the same number is re-used for all subsequent citations to the same source. 

Multiple citations

If you have two citations1,2, or if you have more and the numbers aren't consecutive, use a comma and no space to separate them3,5,7. If you have more than two numbers and they are consecutive, use an en-dash.8-10

Multiple authors

Authors can be mentioned in the text. If a paper has three or more authors, only give the first one followed by et al.  For example: 

Smith and Jones used this method for the first time.2 

Plata et al. determined that...3

Make sure to cite all authors in your reference list.

At the end of your document, list all the source that you have cited in your reference list. The names and initials of all authors are always given in the reference list, and must not be replaced by the phrase et al.

Reference list example

The references are listed in numerical order, according to the order of citations in the text, not alphabetically.

  1. A. Burrows, J. Holman, A. Parsons, G. Pilling and G. Price, Chemistry³, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2nd edn, 2013.
  2. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, ed. W.M. Haynes and D.R. Lide, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 92nd edn., 2011.
  3. A. Corma and H. Garcia, Chem. Rev., 2003, 103, 4307-4366.
  4. On This Day in Chemistry, http://www.rsc.org/learn-chemistry/collections/chemistry-calendar, (accessed 09 November 2017).
  5. The Nanoscience and Technology of Renewable Biomaterials, ed. A. L. Lucia and O. J. Rojas, John Wiley & Sons, Singapore, 2009.
  6. A. C. O’Sullivan, Cellulose, 1997, 4, 173–207.
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