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
J. von Braun, “The food crisis isn’t over,” Nature, vol. 456, no. 7223, p. 701, Dec. 2008.
A journal article with 2 authors
Y. Sugita and Y. Suzuki, “Audiovisual perception: Implicit estimation of sound-arrival time,” Nature, vol. 421, no. 6926, p. 911, Feb. 2003.
A journal article with 3 authors
J. Voog, C. D’Alterio, and D. L. Jones, “Multipotent somatic stem cells contribute to the stem cell niche in the Drosophila testis,” Nature, vol. 454, no. 7208, pp. 1132–1136, Aug. 2008.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
P. A. Andreux et al., “A method to identify and validate mitochondrial modulators using mammalian cells and the worm C. elegans,” Sci. Rep., vol. 4, p. 5285, Jun. 2014.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
T. C. Haas, Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Ecosystem Managers. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2013.
An edited book
M. Terabe and J. A. Berzofsky, Eds., Natural Killer T cells: Balancing the Regulation of Tumor Immunity, 1st ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2012.
A chapter in an edited book
D. Mark, J. Varma, J. LaMarche, A. Horovitz, and K. Kim, “Preparing for Change: Migrations and Versioning,” in More iPhone Development with Swift: Exploring the iOS SDK, J. Varma, J. LaMarche, A. Horovitz, and K. Kim, Eds. Berkeley, CA: Apress, 2015, pp. 127–135.

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
J. Davis, “One In Four Bee Species In The US At Risk Of Extinction,” IFLScience, 03-Mar-2017. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 30-Oct-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, “Pipeline Safety: Better Data and Guidance Could Improve Operators’ Responses to Incidents,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, GAO-13-284T, Jan. 2013.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
M. R. Levy, “Visual perception and Gestalt grouping in the landscape: Are Gestalt grouping prinicples reliable indicators of visual preference?,” Doctoral dissertation, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, 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
L. Greenhouse, “Supreme Court to Revisit Federal Sentencing Issues,” New York Times, p. A17, 04-Nov-2006.

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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