How to format your references using the English for Specific Purposes citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for English for Specific Purposes. 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
Lifschitz, V. (2011). John McCarthy (1927-2011). Nature, 480(7375), 40.
A journal article with 2 authors
Bongaarts, J., & Sinding, S. (2011). Population policy in transition in the developing world. Science (New York, N.Y.), 333(6042), 574–576.
A journal article with 3 authors
Suzuki, T., Asami, M., & Perry, A. C. F. (2014). Asymmetric parental genome engineering by Cas9 during mouse meiotic exit. Scientific Reports, 4, 7621.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Ludwig, M. Z., Bergman, C., Patel, N. H., & Kreitman, M. (2000). Evidence for stabilizing selection in a eukaryotic enhancer element. Nature, 403(6769), 564–567.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Belfiore, L. A. (2010). Physical Properties of Macromolecules. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Moreno, A. (2015). Biological Autonomy: A Philosophical and Theoretical Enquiry (M. Mossio, Ed.; Vol. 12). Springer Netherlands.
A chapter in an edited book
Pirkelbauer, P., Milewicz, R., & Gonzalez, J. F. (2016). A Portable Lock-Free Bounded Queue. In J. Carretero, J. Garcia-Blas, R. K. L. Ko, P. Mueller, & K. Nakano (Eds.), Algorithms and Architectures for Parallel Processing: 16th International Conference, ICA3PP 2016, Granada, Spain, December 14-16, 2016, Proceedings (pp. 55–73). Springer International Publishing.

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 English for Specific Purposes.

Blog post
Andrew, D. (2017, March 15). The Understandable Fear Of Nuclear Weapons Doesn’t Match Reality. IFLScience; IFLScience.


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. (1999). Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Federal Government Making Progress But Critical Issues Must Still Be Addressed to Minimize Disruptions (T-AIMD-99-144). U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Pantallion, A. S. (2015). A parallel comparison of views regarding student preparation for introductory college chemistry [Doctoral dissertation]. California State University, Long Beach.

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
Coll, S. (2017, August 15). Mystery at the Museum. New York Times, BR18.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Lifschitz, 2011).
This sentence cites two references (Bongaarts & Sinding, 2011; Lifschitz, 2011).

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

  • Two authors: (Bongaarts & Sinding, 2011)
  • Three authors: (Suzuki et al., 2014)
  • 6 or more authors: (Ludwig et al., 2000)

About the journal

Full journal titleEnglish for Specific Purposes
ISSN (print)0889-4906

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