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
Parton, R.G., 2001. Cell biology. Life without caveolae. Science 293, 2404–2405.
A journal article with 2 authors
Čorić, I., List, B., 2012. Asymmetric spiroacetalization catalysed by confined Brønsted acids. Nature 483, 315–319.
A journal article with 3 authors
Sillanpää, M.A., Park, J.I., Simmonds, R.W., 2007. Coherent quantum state storage and transfer between two phase qubits via a resonant cavity. Nature 449, 438–442.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Hsu, Y.-J., Simons, M., Avouac, J.-P., Galetzka, J., Sieh, K., Chlieh, M., Natawidjaja, D., Prawirodirdjo, L., Bock, Y., 2006. Frictional afterslip following the 2005 Nias-Simeulue earthquake, Sumatra. Science 312, 1921–1926.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Henriksen, R.N., 2010. Practical Relativity. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.
An edited book
Chung, K.C. (Ed.), 2016. Clinical Management of the Rheumatoid Hand, Wrist, and Elbow, 1st ed. 2016. ed. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Takama, Y., Muto, Y., 2009. Mining User Preference Model from Utterances, in: Abraham, A., Hassanien, A.-E., Leon F. de Carvalho, A.P. de, Snášel, V. (Eds.), Foundations of Computational, IntelligenceVolume 6: Data Mining, Studies in Computational Intelligence. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 97–123.

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. Ancient Orkney Islanders Had An Extremely Gory And Bizarre Death Ritual [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, 2016. Intelligent Transportation Systems: Survey of Transit Providers Serving Small Urban and Rural Areas (GAO-16-639SP, June 21, 2016), an E-supplement to GAO-16-638 (No. GAO-16-639SP). 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
Sandoval, V., 2013. Preventing chronic truancy among Latino high school students: A grant proposal (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
Ellis, B.E., 2017. Still Here. New York Times M2118.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Parton, 2001).
This sentence cites two references (Čorić and List, 2012; Parton, 2001).

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

  • Two authors: (Čorić and List, 2012)
  • Three or more authors: (Hsu et al., 2006)

About the journal

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

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