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
T. Clutton-Brock, “Breeding together: kin selection and mutualism in cooperative vertebrates,” Science, vol. 296, no. 5565, pp. 69–72, Apr. 2002.
A journal article with 2 authors
P. Nussenzveig and J. C. A. Barata, “Physics. A drop of quantum matter,” Science, vol. 328, no. 5985, pp. 1491–1492, Jun. 2010.
A journal article with 3 authors
C. ffrench-Constant, H. Colognato, and R. J. M. Franklin, “Neuroscience. The mysteries of myelin unwrapped,” Science, vol. 304, no. 5671, pp. 688–689, Apr. 2004.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
I. Bock-Marquette, A. Saxena, M. D. White, J. M. Dimaio, and D. Srivastava, “Thymosin beta4 activates integrin-linked kinase and promotes cardiac cell migration, survival and cardiac repair,” Nature, vol. 432, no. 7016, pp. 466–472, Nov. 2004.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
CCPS, Guidelines for Mechanical Integrity Systems. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006.
An edited book
S. S. Bhowmick, C. E. Dyreson, C. S. Jensen, M. L. Lee, A. Muliantara, and B. Thalheim, Eds., Database Systems for Advanced Applications: 19th International Conference, DASFAA 2014, Bali, Indonesia, April 21-24, 2014. Proceedings, Part II, vol. 8422. in Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 8422. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2014.
A chapter in an edited book
W. T. Kim, S. H. Kang, and E. K. Joo, “Performance Improvement of Turbo Code Based on the Extrinsic Information Transition Characteristics,” in Cryptography and Coding: 10th IMA International Conference, Cirencester, UK, December 19-21, 2005. Proceedings, N. P. Smart, Ed., in Lecture Notes in Computer Science. , Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, 2005, pp. 47–58.

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, “Astronomers directly image a filament of the ‘cosmic web’ for the first time,” 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, “Federal Student Aid: Progress in Integrating Pell Grant and Direct Loan Systems and Processes, but Critical Work Remains,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, GAO-03-241, Dec. 2002.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
A.-C. Fisher, “Exceptionality and parent -professional conflict: Causes, prevention and resolution,” Doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 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
K. Crow, “67 Dogs, Some Hot and Some Sly, Have Their Day,” New York Times, p. 144, Jun. 10, 2001.

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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