How to format your references using the ACM Transactions on Computer Systems citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for ACM Transactions on Computer Systems (TOCS). For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Jesse Graham. 2014. Behavior. Morality beyond the lab. Science 345, 6202 (September 2014), 1242.
A journal article with 2 authors
Jeremy Sugarman and Andrew W. Siegel. 2008. Research ethics. When embryonic stem cell lines fail to meet consent standards. Science 322, 5900 (October 2008), 379.
A journal article with 3 authors
Richard Benton, Kirsten S. Vannice, and Leslie B. Vosshall. 2007. An essential role for a CD36-related receptor in pheromone detection in Drosophila. Nature 450, 7167 (November 2007), 289–293.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Amy Tsurumi, Pranabananda Dutta, Pranabanada Dutta, Robin Shang, Shian-Jang Yan, Robin Sheng, and Willis X. Li. 2013. Drosophila Kdm4 demethylases in histone H3 lysine 9 demethylation and ecdysteroid signaling. Sci. Rep. 3, (October 2013), 2894.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Jean-François Daïan. 2014. Equilibrium and Transfer in Porous Media 1. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Yang Xiang, Mukaddim Pathan, Xiaohui Tao, and Hua Wang (Eds.). 2012. Internet and Distributed Computing Systems: 5th International Conference, IDCS 2012, Wuyishan, Fujian, China, November 21-23, 2012. Proceedings. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Irfan Afzal Mirza, M. Shahid Khalil, Muhammad Amer, and Tugrul U. Daim. 2015. Assessment of Wind Potential in Kalar Kahar Region by Comparing On-Site Data with NREL Wind Resource Map of Pakistan. In Policies and Programs for Sustainable Energy Innovations: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Tugrul U. Daim, Jisun Kim, Ibrahim Iskin, Rimal Abu Taha and Kevin C. van Blommestein (eds.). Springer International Publishing, Cham, 55–81.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for ACM Transactions on Computer Systems.

Blog post
Alfredo Carpineti. 2016. Spectacular Stellar Winds Seen In Highest Resolution Yet. IFLScience. Retrieved October 30, 2018 from


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. 2004. Intercity Passenger Rail: Amtrak’s Management of Northeast Corridor Improvements Demonstrates Need for Applying Best Practices. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Andrew L. Bennett. 2019. An Empirical Longitudinal Analysis of Agile Methodologies and Firm Financial Performance. Doctoral dissertation. George Washington University, Washington, DC.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
George Vecsey. 2010. Wozniacki and Yale Are Cheering Each Other On. New York Times, B12.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [2].
This sentence cites two references [2,4].
This sentence cites four references [4–6,8].

About the journal

Full journal titleACM Transactions on Computer Systems
AbbreviationACM Trans. Comput. Syst.
ISSN (print)0734-2071
ISSN (online)1557-7333

Other styles