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
Paul Smaglik. 2003. Biotech’s balancing act. Nature 423, 6937 (May 2003), 363.
A journal article with 2 authors
Fedor Romanov-Michailidis and Tomislav Rovis. 2015. Organic chemistry: Natural polarity inverted. Nature 523, 7561 (July 2015), 417–418.
A journal article with 3 authors
Virjanand Panday, Wouter M. Bergmann Tiest, and Astrid M. L. Kappers. 2014. Integration of length and curvature in haptic perception. Sci. Rep. 4, (January 2014), 3856.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
A. B. Clarke, B. Voight, A. Neri, and G. Macedonio. 2002. Transient dynamics of vulcanian explosions and column collapse. Nature 415, 6874 (February 2002), 897–901.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Sunder Gee. 2014. Fraud and Fraud Detection. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Robert Thomson, Christopher Leburn, and Derryck Reid (Eds.). 2013. Ultrafast Nonlinear Optics. Springer International Publishing, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Jenny M. Jones, Amanda R. Lea-Langton, Lin Ma, Mohamed Pourkashanian, and Alan Williams. 2014. Emissions from Different Types of Combustors and Their Control. In Pollutants Generated by the Combustion of Solid Biomass Fuels, Amanda R. Lea-Langton, Lin Ma, Mohamed Pourkashanian and Alan Williams (eds.). Springer, London, 63–70.

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. WHO Approves Use of Unregistered Interventions For Ebola Patients. 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. 1988. Space Exploration: Cost, Schedule, and Performance of NASA’s Galileo Mission to Jupiter. 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
Tianyi Wang. 2010. Trajectory Similarity Based Prediction for Remaining Useful Life Estimation. Doctoral dissertation. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.

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
Michael J. de la MERCED. 2017. Nestlé Plans for Buybacks And, Perhaps, Acquisitions. New York Times, B4.

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 [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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