We maintain a crowdsourced repository of CSL styles at https://github.com/citation-style-language/styles. All 6500+ styles in this repository are freely available and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA) license. These same styles can also be browsed, searched, previewed, and downloaded at the Zotero Style Repository website.
We won’t deny it: editing CSL styles requires isn’t exactly easy. Requirements for citation formatting are often complex, and as a result, so is CSL.
- The “Search by Name” tab allows you to search styles by their name.
- The “Search by Example” tab allows you to find styles by how they format citations and bibliographies. The editor shows you the details of several items (journal articles, books, etc.), as well as how these items are cited in APA style. After you change the citation and bibliographic entry of an item into the desired format, you can search for styles that produce that format (or something close to it). This is useful to find styles that already exist under another name, or to find a closely matching style that you can use as a starting point for editing.
- The “Visual editor” tab contains the actual style editor, and shows a live preview of the style as you make your edits. Using the editor is still pretty complex, and it is recommended to read up on CSL before attempting major edits.
- The “Code editor” tab contains a more basic editor that allows you to directly edit the XML code of the style. This tab also has a live preview.
The Zotero clients (Zotero for Firefox and Zotero Standalone) ship with two utilities:
- The Reference Test pane allows you to edit the XML code of a style. Different from the “Code editor” tab of the Mendeley editor, the Reference Test pane provides a live preview using items selected in the Zotero client.
- The Preview pane provides previews using items selected in the Zotero client for all installed CSL styles.
Regardless of the tools you use to edit CSL styles, we strongly recommend that you take a look at the official CSL documentation. Beyond the introductory primer, CSL is extensively documented in its specification.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to edit a style yourself, you can request a style instead. However, currently only a few Zotero community members respond to style requests, and they focus their energy on the most popular styles. To get preferential treatment, you can post your request on the Zotero forums and offer payment. The cost of a custom-made CSL style is typically $100-300, depending on the complexity of the task.
For instructions on how to contribute new styles, or to submit changes to existing styles, see our contribution guidelines. Please keep in mind that all style submissions are handled by a handful of volunteers. By closely following our guidelines, your styles can be accepted faster with less work on our part.
Publishers and Creating Styles in Bulk
When multiple journals use the same citation style format, it is relatively easy for us to automatically generate CSL styles for these journals. All we need is access to the citation style guide, and the metadata of each journal (title, print ISSN, and electronic ISSN are often enough). If you are a publisher and would like to help us create CSL styles for your journals, and keep them up to date, please get in touch.
The majority of our CSL styles have already been automatically generated from journal metadata from publishers, including:
- American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
- American Chemical Society (ACS)
- American Fisheries Society (AFS)
- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
- American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)
- American Sociological Association (ASA)
- Annual Reviews
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
- BioMed Central (BMC)
- BMJ Publishing Group
- Copernicus Publications
- Current Opinion (by Elsevier)
- Future Science Group
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
- International Union of Crystallography (IUCr)
- IOP Publishing
- Landes Bioscience
- Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
- Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
- Taylor & Francis
- Trends (by Cell Press)