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
Paul G. Lucey. 2013. Planetary science. A wet and volatile Mercury. Science 339, 6117 (January 2013), 282–283.
A journal article with 2 authors
Jana J. Watson-Capps and Thomas R. Cech. 2014. Academia and industry: Companies on campus. Nature 514, 7522 (October 2014), 297–298.
A journal article with 3 authors
Jun-Ichi Yano, Olivier Talagrand, and Pierre Drossart. 2003. Outer planets: Origins of atmospheric zonal winds. Nature 421, 6918 (January 2003), 36.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Adrienne W. Paton, Travis Beddoe, Cheleste M. Thorpe, James C. Whisstock, Matthew C. J. Wilce, Jamie Rossjohn, Ursula M. Talbot, and James C. Paton. 2006. AB5 subtilase cytotoxin inactivates the endoplasmic reticulum chaperone BiP. Nature 443, 7111 (October 2006), 548–552.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Robert D. Retherford and Minja Kim Choe. 1993. Statistical Models for Causal Analysis. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Jérôme Dedecker. 2007. Weak Dependence: With Examples and Applications. Springer, New York, NY.
A chapter in an edited book
Todd R. Allen. 2007. HIGH DOSE RADIATION EFFECTS IN STEELS. In Radiation Effects in Solids, Kurt E. Sickafus, Eugene A. Kotomin and Blas P. Uberuaga (eds.). Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 99–121.

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
Danielle Andrew. 2016. To Uncover The Secrets Of Exoplanets, Try Listening To Them. 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. 1990. Savings Opportunity for the United States Mint’s Promotional Mailings. 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
David Deutsch. 2010. Increased mental health services for the homeless. California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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 Jorden. 2017. ‘Don Giovanni’ in Its Indelible Essence. New York Times, C5.

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 [2,5,7,8].

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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