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Royal Society of Chemistry referencing

Links to more information about the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) referencing style.

Why reference?

The purpose of referencing is to enable others to find the information that you have used in your assignment. 

You MUST cite and reference all the information that you have used in the main text of your assignment.  It is important to acknowledge the work of others if you have referred to it in your assignments; if you do not, you will be accused of plagiarism.


Plagiarism is a failure to acknowledge another person's work or idea and claiming this idea as your own. This is a serious offence.

The RSC referencing style

Students in the Chemistry Undergraduate Network within the Division of Chemistry & Environmental Science must use the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) referencing style.

You can find guidance on How to reference using the Royal Society of Chemistry style on the RSC website. 

You can also use Endnote referencing management software to help format your references in the RSC style.

Please consult your tutor for further information on RSC referencing.

RSC referencing quick guide

RSC Chemistry Referencing
Quick Guide


This is intended to be a quick guide to RSC Chemistry Referencing.
For more information, please see the RSC Referencing guidance on our website
( ) and look at How to reference using the Royal Society of Chemistry style on the RSC Website




Referencing in the text

Use superscript numbers e.g.¹ in your work to indicate that you have paraphrased or
directly quoted from external sources such as books, journal articles or websites. All
superscript numbers should have a corresponding entry in your reference list.

Reference list

The full details of all the sources you have cited in your work, listed at the end of your
assignment, in numerical order.

Referencing in the text

• The superscript numbers should usually appear at the end of the sentence after the full stop but it can appear after the relevant word or compound.
• If you are using multiple sources then you need to reference the citations in your text e.g. ¹,²
• If the numbered citations aren’t consecutive then use commas, with no spaces e.g. ¹,³,⁵
• If you are using 2 or more numbers and they are consecutive then you can use a dash between the range of numbers e.g. ¹²⁻¹⁶
• Provide the page number in the superscript format when using a direct quote, e.g. Health and Safety Executive. 1 ⁽ᵖ.⁵⁾ It may also be useful to include a page number for a paraphrase, to direct the reader to a particular part of the source you are referring to.
• If you are citing 3 or more authors then use the first surname of the author followed by et al. 

Formatting references

Reference elements with examples
  Reference elements Example
Book Initial/s of the author/s then the
surname/s, Title of book (in italics),
Publisher, Place of publication, Edition
if applicable, year.
P. M. S. Monk and L. J. Munro, Maths for
chemistry: a chemist’s toolkit of
calculations, Oxford University Press,
Oxford, 2nd edn, 2010.
Initial/s of the author/s, Journal Title
(in italics), year, volume, first and last
page numbers of whole journal article.
R. P. Latimer, M. J. Vergne and D. M.
Hercules, Journal of Chemical Education,
2007, 84, 81-86.
Name of resource, URL, (accessed
The Merck Index Online,,
(accessed February 2019)

Need more referencing help?

Look at the Chemistry Subject Guide for more information
Email your enquiry to
EndNote - software to help organise your references

Referencing tools

EndNote can help you:

  • Create a database of references
  • Automatically cite and reference books, journals and other sources in your assignments

Find out more with our EndNote guide

If you are using a referencing management software other than Endnote to help with formatting your references, please ensure you check your references against the examples provided in the MMU Harvard guide.

You can see a demonstration of Endnote with RSC referencing in this Adobe Connect Recording.

Video guide: RSC referencing