Any statement of fact that is not common knowledge must be cited properly. Failure to properly cite sources will be considered plagiarism and manuscripts will be sent back to the authors. In extreme cases, manuscripts may be rejected. Please review our References page for citation guidelines.

You should not quote sentences or phrases directly from a source, even if the source is cited properly. Quoting other sources is simply very uncommon in scientific literature. Instead, you should paraphrase the sentence in your own words. See the following resources for examples of paraphrasing.

What kinds of sources make good references for scientific writing? Some useful resources on finding useful sources can be found here.

  • Peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Textbooks
  • Official websites with “.gov” or “.org” web addresses
  • Science magazines/news articles
  • Encyclopedias

Try to avoid using these kinds of sources, if possible:

  • Wikipedia (and other sites where anyone can edit the information)
  • Blogs and social media posts (unless this kind of medium is important to your study)

Reference formatting

The reference list should be in the appropriate MLA format at the end of the manuscript, with the exception that references be listed in the order in which they are referenced in the text and without a hanging indentation. A comprehensive guide on MLA format can be found here. A template of an academic journal citation is as follows:

Author name(s). “Title of Article.” Name of Journal, vol. X, no. X, Day Month Year, pp. XX-XX. Doi

Common mistakes to look out for:

  • Sources with multiple authors
    • For two authors, “Lastname1, Firstname1 and Firstname2 Lastname2”
    • For more than two authors, “Lastname1, Firstname1, et al.”
  • URLS
    • No “https://” at the beginning of a web address

Here are examples of a few common types of references:

Journal Article

1. Yockey, Laura J., et al. “Type I Interferons Instigate Fetal Demise after Zika Virus Infection.” Science Immunology, vol. 3, no. 19, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Jan. 2018, doi:10.1126/sciimmunol.aao1680.


2. “Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Congenital CMV Infection." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 26 Dec. 2019.


3. Estes, M. K., and A. Z. Kapikian. “Rotaviruses.” Fields Virology, edited by David M Knipe and Peter M Howley, 5th ed., vol. 2, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2007, pp. 1917–74.

In-text citations

While the individual references themselves should follow MLA format, citations within the manuscript should be numbered based on when they appear in the manuscript. For example, the first citation should have a (1) at the end of the sentence, and this (1) should correspond to the first citation in the reference section, which should be a numbered list. To use one of the example references above, “Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common congenital viral infection and a leading cause of hearing loss in infected infants (2).”

Resource Accessibility

JEI understands that scientific papers published in professional journals can be inaccessible by students, both in terms of difficulty and public availability. We encourage students to use and cite readily available resources such as textbooks, encyclopedias, and science magazines. All internet sources will be assessed by the reviewers and editors. Our Resources page contains helpful links for literature search.