How to format your references using the IEEE Spectrum citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for IEEE Spectrum. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
B. James, “Astrophysics: Primordial stars brought to light,” Nature, vol. 526, no. 7571, pp. 46–47, Oct. 2015.
A journal article with 2 authors
M. F. Kropman and H. J. Bakker, “Dynamics of water molecules in aqueous solvation shells,” Science, vol. 291, no. 5511, pp. 2118–2120, Mar. 2001.
A journal article with 3 authors
J. Hacker, U. Hentschel, and U. Dobrindt, “Prokaryotic chromosomes and disease,” Science, vol. 301, no. 5634, pp. 790–793, Aug. 2003.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
B. T. Ruotolo, K. Giles, I. Campuzano, A. M. Sandercock, R. H. Bateman, and C. V. Robinson, “Evidence for macromolecular protein rings in the absence of bulk water,” Science, vol. 310, no. 5754, pp. 1658–1661, Dec. 2005.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
H. zur Hausen, Infections Causing Human Cancer. Weinheim, FRG: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 2006.
An edited book
M. K. Sneve and M. F. Kiselev, Eds., Challenges in Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Regulation of the Nuclear Legacy. in NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2008.
A chapter in an edited book
X. Wang and D. Reeves, “Anonymity,” in Traceback and Anonymity, D. Reeves, Ed., in SpringerBriefs in Computer Science. , New York, NY: Springer, 2015, pp. 49–56.

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 Spectrum.

Blog post
J. Fang, “How ‘Death Stars’ wipe out potential planets,” IFLScience. Accessed: Oct. 30, 2018. [Online]. Available:


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, “The Readiness Goal,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 147977, Jan. 1992.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
N. Simmons-Johnson, “The path to graduation: A model interactive Web site design supporting doctoral students,” Doctoral dissertation, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA, 2012.

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. J. O. Murphy, “Friday File: A Household of April Fool’s Jokes,” New York Times, p. C27, Apr. 01, 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 Spectrum
AbbreviationIEEE Spectr.
ISSN (print)0018-9235
ScopeElectrical and Electronic Engineering

Other styles