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. Smith, “Life beyond the walls,” Nature, vol. 415, no. 6872, p. 7, Feb. 2002.
A journal article with 2 authors
B. E. Pfeiffer and D. J. Foster, “Hippocampal place-cell sequences depict future paths to remembered goals,” Nature, vol. 497, no. 7447, pp. 74–79, May 2013.
A journal article with 3 authors
J. Wang, Y. Mei, and D. Hicks, “Science communication. Comment on ‘Quantifying long-term scientific impact,’” Science, vol. 345, no. 6193, p. 149, Jul. 2014.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
T. Hessa et al., “Molecular code for transmembrane-helix recognition by the Sec61 translocon,” Nature, vol. 450, no. 7172, pp. 1026–1030, Dec. 2007.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
G. Krabbes, G. Fuchs, W.-R. Canders, H. May, and R. Palka, High Temperature Superconductor Bulk Materials. Weinheim, FRG: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 2006.
An edited book
Z. Guo, International Comparisons of China’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training System, vol. 12. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2010.
A chapter in an edited book
H. He and A. K. Singh, “Query Language and Access Methods for Graph Databases,” in Managing and Mining Graph Data, C. C. Aggarwal and H. Wang, Eds. Boston, MA: Springer US, 2010, pp. 125–160.

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
S. Luntz, “World War I Antiseptic Could Be Revived To Treat Superbugs,” IFLScience, 29-Nov-2016. .


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, “Intercollegiate Athletics: Status of Efforts to Promote Gender Equity,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, HEHS-97-10, Oct. 1996.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
C. Heyer, “Advocacy Services for College Students With Disabilities: A Grant Proposal,” Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA, 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
G. Gurley, “Losing Her Friends for the Love of Trump,” New York Times, p. D1, 23-Feb-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