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
Macilwain, C., 2014. Beware of backroom deals in the name of “science.” Nature 508, 289.
A journal article with 2 authors
Bjerrum, C.J., Canfield, D.E., 2002. Ocean productivity before about 1.9 Gyr ago limited by phosphorus adsorption onto iron oxides. Nature 417, 159–162.
A journal article with 3 authors
Lam, E., Kato, N., Lawton, M., 2001. Programmed cell death, mitochondria and the plant hypersensitive response. Nature 411, 848–853.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Mao, D., Liu, X., Sun, Z., Lu, H., Han, D., Wang, G., Wang, F., 2013. Flexible high-repetition-rate ultrafast fiber laser. Sci. Rep. 3, 3223.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Weinstein, S., 2009. The Complete Guide to Fundraising Management. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
Sun, J.-Q., Luo, A.C.J. (Eds.), 2012. Global Analysis of Nonlinear Dynamics. Springer, New York, NY.
A chapter in an edited book
Mannoor, M.S., James, T., Ivanov, D.V., Beadling, L., Braunlin, W., 2009. NEMS Capacitive Sensors for Highly Sensitive, Label-Free Nucleic-Acid Analysis, in: Cheng, M. (Ed.), Nano-Net: Third International ICST Conference, NanoNet 2008, Boston, MA, USA, September 14-16, 2008, Revised Selected Papers, Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 19–25.

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
O`Callaghan, J., 2017. Mars Mission Cancer Risk May Be Double What We Thought [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, 1983. Vocational Education and the Robotics Revolution (No. 121707). 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
Kaminsky, E., 2006. Schumann’s Op. 14: Original, Revised and Edited (“Concerto without Orchestra” versus Piano Sonata No. 3) (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
Murphy, M.J.O., 2015. Weekend Entertainments From the Archives of The New York Times. New York Times C33.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Macilwain, 2014).
This sentence cites two references (Bjerrum and Canfield, 2002; Macilwain, 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Bjerrum and Canfield, 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Mao et al., 2013)

About the journal

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

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