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Notes on Abbreviation of Journal Titles in CSE Style

In the CSE style, journal titles that are more than one word must be abbreviated. However, figuring out how to abbreviate the titles can prove somewhat difficult.  

One general guideline is that at least the last two letters are usually dropped.  Sometimes, internal letters may be eliminated.  Words that are one-syllable or less than five letters usually aren't abbreviated.  

There are several standard abbreviations.  Here are some of the common ones:





Abstracts Abstr Laboratory Lab
American Am Mathematical Math
Annual Annu Microbiology Microbiol
Association Assoc National Nat
Biochemistry Biochem Nuclear Nucl
Bulletin Bull Organic Org
Chemistry Chem Physics Phy
College  Coll Review Rev
Environmental Environ Science Sci
European Eur Scientific Sci
International Int Society Soc
Journal J University Univ

All of these abbreviations come from pages 744–745 of the CBE style manual.  There are several additional abbreviations that you can look up.  The manual is on reserve in the library (call number: Ref T 11.S386 1994).  Here is its reference:

   Council of Biology Editors. 1994. Scientific style and format: the CBE
   manual for authors, editors, and publishers. 6th ed. New York: Cambridge
   Univ Pr. 825 p. 

In addition to trying to figure out the abbreviation, you are urged to look up the proper abbreviation. There are a few books located in the library's Reference section that list the proper abbreviations for several journals in the sciences.  They are listed here with their call numbers and references.

Call Number  


Ref Z 5521.C51	
[ACS] American Chemical Society. 1985. Chemical Abstracts Service 
Source Index (CASSI). (2 volumes). Columbus, OH: ACS. 3229 p.
Ref QH 301.S475 1998
BIOSIS. 1998. BIOSIS serial sources. Philadelphia: BIOSIS. 
Ref Z 6660.U6 1998
[NLM] National Library of Medicine. 1998. List of journals indexed
in Index Medicus. Washington: NLM. 
Ref Z 6945.A2 2000
Alkire LG, editor. 2000. Periodical title abbreviations. (Volume 2, 
By title). 12th ed. Detroit: Gale Group. 1330 p.

Another useful resource on writing in the sciences:
Ref QH 303.6.I54 1997
Wyatt HV, editor. 1997. Information sources in the life sciences.
4th ed. London: Bowker Saur. 264 p.

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Created: 06/27/2000
Last Modified: 09/25/2002