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
D. S. Schimel, “Climate. Drylands in the Earth system,” Science, vol. 327, no. 5964, pp. 418–419, Jan. 2010.
A journal article with 2 authors
G. Bell and A. Gonzalez, “Adaptation and evolutionary rescue in metapopulations experiencing environmental deterioration,” Science, vol. 332, no. 6035, pp. 1327–1330, Jun. 2011.
A journal article with 3 authors
E. J. Beal, C. H. House, and V. J. Orphan, “Manganese- and iron-dependent marine methane oxidation,” Science, vol. 325, no. 5937, pp. 184–187, Jul. 2009.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
N. Guan et al., “Understanding of how Propionibacterium acidipropionici respond to propionic acid stress at the level of proteomics,” Sci. Rep., vol. 4, p. 6951, Nov. 2014.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
S. Padgett, Profiling the Fraudster. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2014.
An edited book
H.-J. Kim, S. Katzenbeisser, and A. T. S. Ho, Eds., Digital Watermarking: 7th International Workshop, IWDW 2008, Busan, Korea, November 10-12, 2008. Selected Papers, vol. 5450. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, 2009.
A chapter in an edited book
S. G. Huber and D. Muijs, “School Leadership Effectiveness: The Growing Insight in the Importance of School Leadership for the Quality and Development of Schools and Their Pupils,” in School Leadership - International Perspectives, S. Huber, Ed. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2010, pp. 57–77.

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
T. Hale, “How To Have A Happy Sex Life With Your Partner, According To Science,” IFLScience, 08-Nov-2016. [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, “Claim of Raines High School for Advertisements Placed in the School Yearbook and Newspaper,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, B-187099-O.M, Feb. 1977.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
M. Saxena, “Learner analysis framework for globalized e-learning,” Doctoral dissertation, Capella University, Minneapolis, MN, 2010.

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
S. Dynarski, “A Trillion-Dollar Student Debt, With Mounting Risks,” New York Times, p. BU4, 06-May-2017.

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