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
S. L. Montgomery. 2001. Newton in Japan. Nature 411, 6833 (May 2001), 25.
A journal article with 2 authors
G. Steiner and L. Salvini-Plawen. 2001. Acaenoplax--polychaete or mollusc? Nature 414, 6864 (December 2001), 601–2; discussion 602.
A journal article with 3 authors
David C. Gadsby, Paola Vergani, and László Csanády. 2006. The ABC protein turned chloride channel whose failure causes cystic fibrosis. Nature 440, 7083 (March 2006), 477–483.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Hector Aldaz, Luke M. Rice, Tim Stearns, and David A. Agard. 2005. Insights into microtubule nucleation from the crystal structure of human gamma-tubulin. Nature 435, 7041 (May 2005), 523–527.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Weston M. Stacey. 2012. Fusion Plasma Physics. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany.
An edited book
Laurent George and Tullio Vardanega (Eds.). 2014. Reliable Software Technologies – Ada-Europe 2014: 19th Ada-Europe International Conference on Reliable Software Technologies, Paris, France, June 23-27, 2014. Proceedings. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Kenneth Chan, Iman Poernomo, Heinz Schmidt, and Jane Jayaputera. 2005. A Model-Oriented Framework for Runtime Monitoring of Nonfunctional Properties. In Quality of Software Architectures and Software Quality: First International Conference on the Quality of Software Architectures, QoSA 2005, and Second International Workshop on Software Quality, SOQUA 2005, Erfurt, Germany, September 20-22, 2005. Proceedings, Ralf Reussner, Johannes Mayer, Judith A. Stafford, Sven Overhage, Steffen Becker and Patrick J. Schroeder (eds.). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 38–52.

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
Elise Andrew. 2015. The Race Is Still On For A Reusable Rocket Despite The SpaceX Setback. IFLScience.


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. 1994. Advance Sheets: Volume 73, Decisions of the Comptroller General of the United States. 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
Meaghan N. Malherek. 2016. The Prevalence and Predictors of Parental Corporal Punishment in the United States. Doctoral dissertation. Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL.

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. Home Runs And Demons For Hamilton And Mantle. New York Times, D1.

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 [5–8].

About the journal

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

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