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
Sheila McCormick. 2007. Plant science. Reproductive dialog. Science 317, 5838 (August 2007), 606–607.
A journal article with 2 authors
Jonathan Braithwaite and Hendrik C. Spruit. 2004. A fossil origin for the magnetic field in A stars and white dwarfs. Nature 431, 7010 (October 2004), 819–821.
A journal article with 3 authors
Pascal D. Fortin, Christopher T. Walsh, and Nathan A. Magarvey. 2007. A transglutaminase homologue as a condensation catalyst in antibiotic assembly lines. Nature 448, 7155 (August 2007), 824–827.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Namiko Satoh-Nagasawa, Nobuhiro Nagasawa, Simon Malcomber, Hajime Sakai, and David Jackson. 2006. A trehalose metabolic enzyme controls inflorescence architecture in maize. Nature 441, 7090 (May 2006), 227–230.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Mervyn J. Silvapulle and Pranab K. Sen. 2001. Constrained Statistical Inference: Inequality, Order, and Shape Restrictions. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Guido Boella, Edith Elkind, Bastin Tony Roy Savarimuthu, Frank Dignum, and Martin K. Purvis (Eds.). 2013. PRIMA 2013: Principles and Practice of Multi-Agent Systems: 16th International Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand, December 1-6, 2013. Proceedings. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Walter Noll. 2011. The Foundations of Mechanics. In Non-linear Continuum Theories, G. Grioli and C. Truesdell (eds.). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 159–200.

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
Elise Andrew. 2014. What Happens When You Play Music Through A Squid? 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. 1972. GAO Role in the Evaluation of Federally Funded Education Programs. 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
Sharon Lynn Ellerbrook. 2009. Exploring the efficiency and effectiveness of teacher selection tools: The effects on the total group with a focus on the gender sub-groups. Doctoral dissertation. Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO.

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
George Gene Gustines. 2016. These Superheros Come With Lipstick. New York Times, ST8.

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 [3,5,6,8].

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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