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
Martin, T. (2006). Paleontology. Early mammalian evolutionary experiments. Science (New York, N.Y.), 311(5764), 1109–1110.
A journal article with 2 authors
Aanen, D. K., & Bisseling, T. (2014). Microbiology. The birth of cooperation. Science (New York, N.Y.), 345(6192), 29–30.
A journal article with 3 authors
Liu, F., Bakht, S., & Dean, C. (2012). Cotranscriptional role for Arabidopsis DICER-LIKE 4 in transcription termination. Science (New York, N.Y.), 335(6076), 1621–1623.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
de Aguiar, M. A. M., Baranger, M., Baptestini, E. M., Kaufman, L., & Bar-Yam, Y. (2009). Global patterns of speciation and diversity. Nature, 460(7253), 384–387.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Püschl, W. (2012). Physik des Segelns. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
An edited book
Buzug, T. M., & Borgert, J. (Eds.). (2012). Magnetic Particle Imaging: A Novel SPIO Nanoparticle Imaging Technique (Vol. 140). Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Geissler, E., & László, K. (2011). Applications of Small Angle X-Ray Scattering Techniques for Characterizing High Surface Area Carbons. In S. Mikhalovsky & A. Khajibaev (Eds.), Biodefence: Advanced Materials and Methods for Health Protection (pp. 41–49). Springer Netherlands.

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, E. (2014, March 10). ASU Origins Project Features The Great Debate of Parallel Realities. 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. (2007). Highlights of a Forum: Health Care 20 Years From Now--Taking Steps Today to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges (GAO-07-1155SP). 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
Naro, A. (2016). The effects of the structural components of 4-H residential summer programs on the achievement of the essential elements of positive youth development and the acquisition of targeted life skills [Doctoral dissertation]. Mississippi State University.

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
Wagner, J. (2016, November 1). Mets’ Familia Arrested in Domestic Violence Case; 2017 Status in Doubt. New York Times, B13.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Martin, 2006).
This sentence cites two references (Aanen & Bisseling, 2014; Martin, 2006).

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

  • Two authors: (Aanen & Bisseling, 2014)
  • Three authors: (Liu et al., 2012)
  • 6 or more authors: (de Aguiar et al., 2009)

About the journal

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

Other styles