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
S. Benjamin, “QUANTUM CRYPTOGRAPHY: Single Photons,” Science, vol. 290, no. 5500, pp. 2273–2274, Dec. 2000.
A journal article with 2 authors
I. Stewart and J. Cohen, “Monolith,” Nature, vol. 408, no. 6815, p. 913, 2000.
A journal article with 3 authors
K. Koga, H. Tanaka, and X. C. Zeng, “First-order transition in confined water between high-density liquid and low-density amorphous phases,” Nature, vol. 408, no. 6812, pp. 564–567, Nov. 2000.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
T. Biederer et al., “SynCAM, a synaptic adhesion molecule that drives synapse assembly,” Science, vol. 297, no. 5586, pp. 1525–1531, Aug. 2002.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
I. G. N. Agung, Cross Section and Experimental Data Analysis Using Eviews. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd, 2011.
An edited book
D. Draheim and G. Weber, Eds., Trends in Enterprise Application Architecture: 2nd International Conference, TEAA 2006, Berlin, Germany, November 29 - December 1, 2006, Revised Selected Papers, vol. 4473. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, 2007.
A chapter in an edited book
L. González-Manzano, A. I. González-Tablas, J. M. de Fuentes, and A. Ribagorda, “User-Managed Access Control in Web Based Social Networks,” in Security and Privacy Preserving in Social Networks, R. Chbeir and B. Al Bouna, Eds. Vienna: Springer, 2013, pp. 97–137.

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
E. Andrew, “Bionic Power Trousers Could Help Us Get Up The Stairs,” IFLScience, Mar. 23, 2015. (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, “Fiscal Year 2012 Agreed-Upon Procedures: Excise Tax Distributions to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and the Highway Trust Fund,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, GAO-13-73R, Nov. 2012.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
S. Gao, “Characterization of the TAT cell penetrating peptide and directed evolution of new cell penetrating peptides for protein and nucleotide delivery to neuronal -like cells,” Doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, New York, NY, 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
M. Billard, “Keeping Up With His Followers,” New York Times, p. E1, Oct. 24, 2013.

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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