How to format your references using the ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems (TOPLAS). 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
Joel V. Weinstock. 2012. Autoimmunity: The worm returns. Nature 491, 7423 (November 2012), 183–185.
A journal article with 2 authors
Daniel E. Winkowski and Eric I. Knudsen. 2006. Top-down gain control of the auditory space map by gaze control circuitry in the barn owl. Nature 439, 7074 (January 2006), 336–339.
A journal article with 3 authors
Renato Torre, Paolo Bartolini, and Roberto Righini. 2004. Structural relaxation in supercooled water by time-resolved spectroscopy. Nature 428, 6980 (March 2004), 296–299.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Elizabeth P. Murchison, Cesar Tovar, Arthur Hsu, Hannah S. Bender, Pouya Kheradpour, Clare A. Rebbeck, David Obendorf, Carly Conlan, Melanie Bahlo, Catherine A. Blizzard, Stephen Pyecroft, Alexandre Kreiss, Manolis Kellis, Alexander Stark, Timothy T. Harkins, Jennifer A. Marshall Graves, Gregory M. Woods, Gregory J. Hannon, and Anthony T. Papenfuss. 2010. The Tasmanian devil transcriptome reveals Schwann cell origins of a clonally transmissible cancer. Science 327, 5961 (January 2010), 84–87.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
George W. Luther III. 2016. Inorganic Chemistry for Geochemistry and Environmental Sciences. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Marinos Ioannides and Ewald Quak (Eds.). 2014. 3D Research Challenges in Cultural Heritage: A Roadmap in Digital Heritage Preservation. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
N. Saba, M. T. Paridah, M. Jawaid, K. Abdan, and N. A. Ibrahim. 2015. Manufacturing and Processing of Kenaf Fibre-Reinforced Epoxy Composites via Different Methods. In Manufacturing of Natural Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composites, Mohd Sapuan Salit, Mohammad Jawaid, Nukman Bin Yusoff and M. Enamul Hoque (eds.). Springer International Publishing, Cham, 101–124.

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 Programming Languages and Systems.

Blog post
Janet Fang. 2014. Giant River Otters Are Much Chattier Than We Thought. 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. 2016. Student Loans: Oversight of Servicemembers’ Interest Rate Cap Could Be Strengthened. 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
Saul Guzman. 2015. Numerical investigations of a pipe jet with coil insert issuing into a crossflow. 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
Mary Billard. 2010. Scouting Report. New York Times, E5.

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 Programming Languages and Systems
AbbreviationACM Trans. Program. Lang. Syst.
ISSN (print)0164-0925
ISSN (online)1558-4593

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