History of Scientific Style and Format

The Council of Biology Editors (now the Council of Science Editors) first issued a formal style manual in 1960. The first 5 editions included content on writing and submitting papers for journal publication, along with guidance on publication style and format. Recommendations on scientific style were limited mainly to the microbial, plant, zoological, and medical sciences.

In 1994, the sixth edition expanded the scope of the manual to include recommendations on scientific style for publications about not only plant sciences, zoology, microbiology, and medical sciences, but also other experimental and observational sciences. CSE officially changed the name of the organization in 2000 from the Council of Biology Editors to the Council of Science Editors, and the seventh edition, published in 2006, more clearly defined and implemented the intended expansion from a society dedicated to editors of publications in the field of biology to a more wide-ranging and inclusive group of disciplines consisting of all physical and life sciences. Now, with the eighth edition, content updates include some important revisions to language, particularly relating to the perpetually evolving electronic and online environments in scientific writing and publishing, updated references throughout, and a shift in the previously recommended citation–name reference style to citation–sequence, among other enhancements.

The Scientific Style and Format Eighth Edition Subcommittee worked to ensure the continued integrity of the CSE style and to provide a progressively up-to-date resource for our valued users. We hope that this new edition will prove to be an authoritative tool used to help keep the language and writings of the scientific community alive and thriving, whether the research is printed on paper or published online.