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Chemistry Library Guide: Referencing

A library guide for chemistry students.


Royal Society of Chemistry:
The Department of Chemistry at UCT requires students to use the referencing style of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). This is explained, with examples, in the RSC Publishing site's guidelines for authors.  The basic rules for using this style are summarized here ... but, when it comes to creating your bibliography, you can get RefWorks (our reference management software) to do all the work for you!  See the section on RefWorks below.

RSC Referencing Style  (summarized from the RSC author guidelines)

  • In-text citations are in the form of superscript numbers.
  • References are numbered sequentially.
  • Place the superscript number at the relevant point in the text,  after any punctuation.
  • The full reference is listed at the end of your work and the list should be double-spaced.
  • Use abbreviations for journal titles. (Use the Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index (CASSI) search tool to find the correct abbreviations.)
  • All authors names must be listed and article titles must not be included.

Note the use of punctuation and bold/italic fonts in the following examples:


1. D. O. Bassett, Am. Lab., 1987, 19, 28.  


2. E. Yourdon, Modern Structured Analysis, Yourdon Press, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1989.


3. A. W. Oxford in Progress in Medicinal Chemistry, ed. G. P. Ellis and D. K. Luscombe, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1992, p 239.

CASSI Search Tool:  The Royal Society of Chemistry citation style requires that journal titles are abbreviated using the official abbreviations found in the Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index (CASSI).  This resource is now available for searching online at

The University of Cape Town subscribes to RefWorks, a web-based reference management service used for storing and organizing references. UCT staff and students may use RefWorks on campus and also off-campus (by logging in via EZProxy). Have a look at the RefWorks libguide for more information.

The University of Cape Town subscribes to EndNote, which is a reference management tool used to store and organize references. UCT staff and students can access EndNote on campus and off-campus (by logging in via EZProxy). Have a look at the EndNote Libguide for more information.