How to format your references using the IEEE Software citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for IEEE Software. 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
D. B. Wilson, “Immunology: Insulin auto-antigenicity in type 1 diabetes,” Nature, vol. 438, no. 7067, pp. E5; discussion E5-6, Nov. 2005.
A journal article with 2 authors
C. A. Mbadugha and A. O. Onakoya, “The awareness, perceptions and experiences of primary open angle glaucoma patients in Lagos Nigeria,” Sci. Rep., vol. 4, p. 7585, Dec. 2014.
A journal article with 3 authors
J. E. O’Connor, J. J. Duda, and G. E. Grant, “Ecology. 1000 dams down and counting,” Science, vol. 348, no. 6234, pp. 496–497, May 2015.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
R. Corder et al., “Endothelin-1 synthesis reduced by red wine,” Nature, vol. 414, no. 6866, pp. 863–864, 2001.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
R. Knowles, 150 Contractual Problems and their Solutions. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2008.
An edited book
C. Faucher and L. C. Jain, Eds., Innovations in Intelligent Machines-4: Recent Advances in Knowledge Engineering, vol. 514. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2014.
A chapter in an edited book
N. S. C. Serpa, B. B. Sá, I. Costa, and O. Vendrametto, “Agribusiness, Agrienergy and Leadership: The Coaching as a Tool to Guide Talents,” in Advances in Production Management Systems. Innovative and Knowledge-Based Production Management in a Global-Local World: IFIP WG 5.7 International Conference, APMS 2014, Ajaccio, France, September 20-24, 2014, Proceedings, Part II, B. Grabot, B. Vallespir, S. Gomes, A. Bouras, and D. Kiritsis, Eds. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, 2014, pp. 38–45.

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 IEEE Software.

Blog post
S. Luntz, “Could Deep Waters Save Coral Reefs?,” IFLScience, May 24, 2016. (accessed Oct. 30, 2018).


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, “NASA: Sound Management and Oversight Key to Addressing Crew Exploration Vehicle Project Risks,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, GAO-06-1127T, Sep. 2006.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
S. Nagarajan, “Migration, remittances, and household health: Evidence from South Africa,” Doctoral dissertation, George Washington University, Washington, DC, 2009.

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
J. Wagner, “Mets Fall Again, and Bruce Is Pulled During Rally,” New York Times, p. B9, Sep. 21, 2016.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1], [2].
This sentence cites four references [1]–[4].

About the journal

Full journal titleIEEE Software
AbbreviationIEEE Softw.
ISSN (print)0740-7459

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