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
Yuji Furukawa. 2015. PHYSICS. Frustrating a quantum magnet. Science 350, 6261 (November 2015), 631–632.
A journal article with 2 authors
Steven G. Thomas and Vernonica E. Franklin-Tong. 2004. Self-incompatibility triggers programmed cell death in Papaver pollen. Nature 429, 6989 (May 2004), 305–309.
A journal article with 3 authors
Pankaj Kumar Arora, Alok Srivastava, and Vijay Pal Singh. 2014. Degradation of 4-chloro-3-nitrophenol via a novel intermediate, 4-chlororesorcinol by Pseudomonas sp. JHN. Sci. Rep. 4, (March 2014), 4475.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Dominique J-F de Quervain, Urs Fischbacher, Valerie Treyer, Melanie Schellhammer, Ulrich Schnyder, Alfred Buck, and Ernst Fehr. 2004. The neural basis of altruistic punishment. Science 305, 5688 (August 2004), 1254–1258.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Joseph B. Kadane and David A. Schum. 1997. A Probabilistic Analysis of the Sacco and Vanzetti Evidence: Kadane/A Probabilistic. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Jan Awrejcewicz (Ed.). 2016. Dynamical Systems: Theoretical and Experimental Analysis: Łódź, Poland, December 7-10, 2015. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Gabriele Pannocchia. 2015. Distributed Model Predictive Control. In Encyclopedia of Systems and Control, John Baillieul and Tariq Samad (eds.). Springer, London, 301–308.

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
Tom Hale. 2016. Scientists Finally Understand The 100-Year-Old Mystery Of This Sea Blob. 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. 1976. GAO and Federal Government ADP Procurement. 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
Shelby D. Yaceczko. 2017. A Telehealth Nutrition Manual for an Online Intensive Behavioral Weight Management Program. Doctoral dissertation. 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
David Kelly. 2010. Heroes, Studs and Raging Bulls. New York Times, BR12.

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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