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
Kaufman, F. (2012). Futures market: Wall Street’s thirst for water. Nature, 490(7421), 469–471.
A journal article with 2 authors
Bandyopadhyay, P. R., & Hansen, J. C. (2013). Breakup and then makeup: a predictive model of how cilia self-regulate hardness for posture control. Scientific Reports, 3, 1956.
A journal article with 3 authors
Fitch, J. P., Raber, E., & Imbro, D. R. (2003). Technology challenges in responding to biological or chemical attacks in the civilian sector. Science (New York, N.Y.), 302(5649), 1350–1354.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Watson, T. F., Philips, S. G. J., Kawakami, E., Ward, D. R., Scarlino, P., Veldhorst, M., Savage, D. E., Lagally, M. G., Friesen, M., Coppersmith, S. N., Eriksson, M. A., & Vandersypen, L. M. K. (2018). A programmable two-qubit quantum processor in silicon. Nature, 555(7698), 633–637.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Evans, A. W. (2008). Economics, Real Estate and the Supply of Land. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
An edited book
Pleyer, U., Alió, J. L., Barisani-Asenbauer, T., Le Hoang, P., & Rao, N. A. (Eds.). (2014). Immune Modulation and Anti-Inflammatory Therapy in Ocular Disorders: IOIS Guidelines. Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Goldengorin, B., & Pardalos, P. M. (2012). Summary. In P. M. Pardalos (Ed.), Data Correcting Approaches in Combinatorial Optimization (pp. 107–108). Springer.

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
Carpineti, A. (2017, May 25). NASA’s Mission To Metal Asteroid Psyche Will Now Arrive Four Years Earlier. 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). Month In Review, August 1999: Reports, Testimony, Correspondence, and Other Publications (OPA-99-11). 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
Sink, R. C. (2010). Exploring a high school community relations and parent involvement program [Doctoral dissertation]. Lindenwood 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
Kelly, D. A. (2008, April 30). Go-To Gadgets. New York Times, SPG5.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Kaufman, 2012).
This sentence cites two references (Bandyopadhyay & Hansen, 2013; Kaufman, 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Bandyopadhyay & Hansen, 2013)
  • Three authors: (Fitch et al., 2003)
  • 6 or more authors: (Watson et al., 2018)

About the journal

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

Other styles