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
Alberto Alesina. 2013. Economics. Women, fertility, and the rise of modern capitalism. Science 342, 6157 (October 2013), 427–428.
A journal article with 2 authors
Tobias Mourier and Daniel C. Jeffares. 2003. Eukaryotic intron loss. Science 300, 5624 (May 2003), 1393.
A journal article with 3 authors
Y. Zhong, L. Zhang, and D. Su. 2000. Collaborations tailored for bioinformatics projects. Science 290, 5499 (December 2000), 2074a.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Jim J. Lin, Jingang Zhou, Weicheng Shiu, and Kopin Liu. 2003. State-specific correlation of coincident product pairs in the F + CD4 reaction. Science 300, 5621 (May 2003), 966–969.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Marian K. Kazimierczuk. 2014. RF Power Amplifiers. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Harith Alani, Lalana Kagal, Achille Fokoue, Paul Groth, Chris Biemann, Josiane Xavier Parreira, Lora Aroyo, Natasha Noy, Chris Welty, and Krzysztof Janowicz (Eds.). 2013. The Semantic Web – ISWC 2013: 12th International Semantic Web Conference, Sydney, NSW, Australia, October 21-25, 2013, Proceedings, Part II. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Jose Torres-Jimenez, Himer Avila-George, Nelson Rangel-Valdez, and Jorge Martinez-Pena. 2010. Optimization of Investment Options Using SQL. In Advances in Artificial Intelligence – IBERAMIA 2010: 12th Ibero-American Conference on AI, Bahía Blanca, Argentina, November 1-5, 2010. Proceedings, Angel Kuri-Morales and Guillermo R. Simari (eds.). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 30–39.

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. 2014. 110-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Chase Scene Digitally Reconstructed. 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. 1994. Health, Education, Employment, and Income Security Reports. 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
Raghu Nandan Immaneni. 2015. An efficient approach to machine learning based text classification through distributed computing. 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
Ian Urbina. 2015. Video Captures 4 Murders, but Killers Go Unpunished. New York Times, A1.

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 [4,5,7,8].

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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