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
Brin, D., 2000. Reality check. Nature 404, 229.
A journal article with 2 authors
Franklin, C.E., Axelsson, M., 2000. An actively controlled heart valve. Nature 406, 847–848.
A journal article with 3 authors
Saá, P., Castilla, J., Soto, C., 2006. Presymptomatic detection of prions in blood. Science 313, 92–94.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Månsson, M., Kalies, I., Bergström, G., Schmidt, C., Legnehed, A., Hultén, L.M., Amrot-Fors, L., Gustafsson, D., Knecht, W., 2014. Lp(a) is not associated with diabetes but affects fibrinolysis and clot structure ex vivo. Sci. Rep. 4, 5318.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Thiselton, A.C., 2010. 1 & 2 Thessalonians: Through the Centuries. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.
An edited book
Oquendo, F., 2016. Software Architecture in Action: Designing and Executing Architectural Models with SysADL Grounded on the OMG SysML Standard, Undergraduate Topics in Computer Science. Springer International Publishing, Cham.
A chapter in an edited book
Chai, K.C., Tay, K.M., Lim, C.P., 2015. A New Sign Distance-Based Ranking Method for Fuzzy Numbers, in: Handa, H., Ishibuchi, H., Ong, Y.-S., Tan, K.-C. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th Asia Pacific Symposium on Intelligent and Evolutionary Systems - Volume 2, Proceedings in Adaptation, Learning and Optimization. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 55–64.

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
Luntz, S., 2015. Rhinos Escape Caught On Video [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, 2012. General Aviation Safety: Additional FAA Efforts Could Help Identify and Mitigate Safety Risks (No. GAO-13-36). 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
Ballard, K.J., 2012. Frequent factors for psychiatric hospital readmission (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
BRUCE LAMBERT; Reporting for this article was contributed by Faiza Akhtar, Beller, P.C., Burghardt, L.F., Cotsalas, V., Toy, V.S., Vitello, P., Winzelberg, D., 2005. Democrats Extend Control In Nassau and Suffolk. New York Times B10.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Brin, 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Brin, 2000; Franklin and Axelsson, 2000).

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

  • Two authors: (Franklin and Axelsson, 2000)
  • Three or more authors: (Månsson et al., 2014)

About the journal

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

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