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
Shailaja Neelakantan. 2013. Psychology: Mind over myocardium. Nature 493, 7434 (January 2013), S16-7.
A journal article with 2 authors
C. M. Lively and M. F. Dybdahl. 2000. Parasite adaptation to locally common host genotypes. Nature 405, 6787 (June 2000), 679–681.
A journal article with 3 authors
Massimo A. Bollasina, Yi Ming, and V. Ramaswamy. 2011. Anthropogenic aerosols and the weakening of the South Asian summer monsoon. Science 334, 6055 (October 2011), 502–505.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Sotiris C. Masmanidis, Rassul B. Karabalin, Iwijn De Vlaminck, Gustaaf Borghs, Mark R. Freeman, and Michael L. Roukes. 2007. Multifunctional nanomechanical systems via tunably coupled piezoelectric actuation. Science 317, 5839 (August 2007), 780–783.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Stephen P. Peca. 2009. Real Estate Development and Investment. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Helaine Selin (Ed.). 2016. Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.
A chapter in an edited book
Todd Jackson, Babak Salamat, Andrei Homescu, Karthikeyan Manivannan, Gregor Wagner, Andreas Gal, Stefan Brunthaler, Christian Wimmer, and Michael Franz. 2011. Compiler-Generated Software Diversity. In Moving Target Defense: Creating Asymmetric Uncertainty for Cyber Threats, Sushil Jajodia, Anup K. Ghosh, Vipin Swarup, Cliff Wang and X. Sean Wang (eds.). Springer, New York, NY, 77–98.

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
Stephen Luntz. 2015. Drug Treats Protein That May Cause Alzheimer’s Disease. 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. 1997. FCC: Ka-Band Satellite Application and Licensing Procedure. 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
Xilin Zhang. 2012. Electroweak interactions and the delta resonance in a chiral effective field theory for nuclei. Doctoral dissertation. Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

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
James Kanter. 2016. E.U. Official’s Move Fuels Talk of Merkel Challenge. New York Times, A6.

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 [3,4].
This sentence cites four references [4,5,7,8].

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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