How to format your references using the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. 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
A. M. Macfarlane, “Nuclear policy. The overlooked back end of the nuclear fuel cycle,” Science, vol. 333, no. 6047, pp. 1225–1226, Sep. 2011.
A journal article with 2 authors
J. Overpeck and B. Udall, “Climate change. Dry times ahead,” Science, vol. 328, no. 5986, pp. 1642–1643, Jun. 2010.
A journal article with 3 authors
W. Zhang, H. Kawamata, and K. Liu, “CH stretching excitation in the early barrier F + CHD3 reaction inhibits CH bond cleavage,” Science, vol. 325, no. 5938, pp. 303–306, Jul. 2009.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
T. H. Kim et al., “A high-resolution map of active promoters in the human genome,” Nature, vol. 436, no. 7052, pp. 876–880, Aug. 2005.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
A. El Hami and B. Radi, Uncertainty and Optimization in Structural Mechanics. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2013.
An edited book
T. Zia, A. Zomaya, V. Varadharajan, and M. Mao, Eds., Security and Privacy in Communication Networks: 9th International ICST Conference, SecureComm 2013, Sydney, NSW, Australia, September 25-28, 2013, Revised Selected Papers, vol. 127. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2013.
A chapter in an edited book
B. Brejová, A. Gafurov, D. Pardubská, M. Sabo, and T. Vinař, “Isometric Gene Tree Reconciliation Revisited,” in Algorithms in Bioinformatics: 16th International Workshop, WABI 2016, Aarhus, Denmark, August 22-24, 2016. Proceedings, M. Frith and C. N. Storm Pedersen, Eds. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2016, pp. 40–51.

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 Transactions on Software Engineering.

Blog post
E. Andrew, “Trial Shows New Vaccine Safe And Effective Against 9 Strains Of HPV,” IFLScience, Feb. 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, “Year 2000 Computing: EFT 99 Is Not Expected to Affect Year 2000 Remediation Efforts,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, AIMD-98-272R, Aug. 1998.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
S. L. Rogers, “Fear of Cancer and Theory of Planned Behavior as Predictors of Pap Screenings,” Doctoral dissertation, Northcentral University, Scottsdale, AZ, 2017.

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
B. Brantley, “Considering the Lives That Shape Our Own,” New York Times, p. C1, Jan. 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 Transactions on Software Engineering
ISSN (print)0098-5589

Other styles