How to format your references using the Digital Investigation citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Digital Investigation. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
Kwok, P.Y., 2001. Genomics. Genetic association by whole-genome analysis? Science 294, 1669–1670.
A journal article with 2 authors
van Putten, M.H.P.M., Levinson, A., 2002. Detecting energy emissions from a rotating black hole. Science 295, 1874–1877.
A journal article with 3 authors
Huang, C.Y., Ayliffe, M.A., Timmis, J.N., 2003. Direct measurement of the transfer rate of chloroplast DNA into the nucleus. Nature 422, 72–76.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Vacic, V., McCarthy, S., Malhotra, D., Murray, F., Chou, H.-H., Peoples, A., Makarov, V., Yoon, S., Bhandari, A., Corominas, R., Iakoucheva, L.M., Krastoshevsky, O., Krause, V., Larach-Walters, V., Welsh, D.K., Craig, D., Kelsoe, J.R., Gershon, E.S., Leal, S.M., Dell Aquila, M., Morris, D.W., Gill, M., Corvin, A., Insel, P.A., McClellan, J., King, M.-C., Karayiorgou, M., Levy, D.L., DeLisi, L.E., Sebat, J., 2011. Duplications of the neuropeptide receptor gene VIPR2 confer significant risk for schizophrenia. Nature 471, 499–503.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Engle, C.R., Quagrainie, K.K., Dey, M.M., 2016. Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing Handbook. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Lipman, J., 2009. Foundations of Grothendieck Duality for Diagrams of Schemes, Lecture Notes in Mathematics. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
Mączkowski, G., Sitnik, R., Krzesłowski, J., 2012. Data Acquisition Enhancement in Shape and Multispectral Color Measurements of 3D Objects, in: Elmoataz, A., Mammass, D., Lezoray, O., Nouboud, F., Aboutajdine, D. (Eds.), Image and Signal Processing: 5th International Conference, ICISP 2012, Agadir, Morocco, June 28-30, 2012. Proceedings, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 27–35.

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 Digital Investigation.

Blog post
Hale, T., 2016. Why Do Some People Have A Tiny Extra Hole In Their Ear? [WWW Document]. IFLScience. URL (accessed 10.30.18).


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, 1993. Software Reuse: Major Issues Need to Be Resolved Before Benefits Can Be Achieved (No. IMTEC-93-16). 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
Murray, B.A., 2015. Sociocultural factors in women’s health in Swaziland (Doctoral dissertation). Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

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
Taggart, J., Granville, K., 2017. How We Shop: Past, Present Future. New York Times BU4.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Kwok, 2001).
This sentence cites two references (Kwok, 2001; van Putten and Levinson, 2002).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (van Putten and Levinson, 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Vacic et al., 2011)

About the journal

Full journal titleDigital Investigation
ISSN (print)1742-2876
ScopeComputer Science Applications
Medical Laboratory Technology

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