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
Ober, C.K., 2002. Self-assembly. Persistence pays off. Science 296, 859–861.
A journal article with 2 authors
Singla, V., Reiter, J.F., 2006. The primary cilium as the cell’s antenna: signaling at a sensory organelle. Science 313, 629–633.
A journal article with 3 authors
Berner, R.A., Vandenbrooks, J.M., Ward, P.D., 2007. Evolution. Oxygen and evolution. Science 316, 557–558.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Sun, J., Zeng, J., Wang, X., Cartwright, A.N., Litchinitser, N.M., 2014. Concealing with structured light. Sci. Rep. 4, 4093.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Rapaport, H., 2011. The Literary Theory Toolkit. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Selinus, O., Finkelman, R.B., Centeno, J.A. (Eds.), 2010. Medical Geology: A Regional Synthesis, International Year of Planet Earth. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.
A chapter in an edited book
Bronshtein, I.N., Semendyayev, K.A., Musiol, G., Mühlig, H., 2015. Linear Algebra, in: Semendyayev, K.A., Musiol, G., Mühlig, H. (Eds.), Handbook of Mathematics. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 269–322.

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. This Designer’s Project Shows How Genetic Material Could Be Exploited By Biotechnology [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, 1992. Air Traffic Control: Advanced Automation System Still Vulnerable to Cost and Schedule Problems (No. RCED-92-264). 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
Bravo, M., 2015. The development of a viable business plan: Analytics of 30 day readmission rates for hospitals and ancillary services (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
Ruprecht, T., 2010. High-School Redux. New York Times MM50.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Ober, 2002).
This sentence cites two references (Ober, 2002; Singla and Reiter, 2006).

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

  • Two authors: (Singla and Reiter, 2006)
  • Three or more authors: (Sun et al., 2014)

About the journal

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

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