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
J. Pan, “China expects leadership from rich nations,” Nature, vol. 461, no. 7267, p. 1055, Oct. 2009.
A journal article with 2 authors
B. A. Edgar and K. J. Kim, “Cell biology. Sizing up the cell,” Science, vol. 325, no. 5937, pp. 158–159, Jul. 2009.
A journal article with 3 authors
E. S. Levine, L. Blitz, and C. Heiles, “The spiral structure of the outer Milky Way in hydrogen,” Science, vol. 312, no. 5781, pp. 1773–1777, Jun. 2006.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Y. Matsubara et al., “Transcription activator-like effector nuclease-mediated transduction of exogenous gene into IL2RG locus,” Sci. Rep., vol. 4, p. 5043, May 2014.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
W. M. Stacey, Fusion. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 2010.
An edited book
A. S. Advani and H. M. Lazarus, Eds., Adult Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia: Biology and Treatment. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press, 2011.
A chapter in an edited book
É. Barbin and R. Guitart, “Mathematical Physics in the Style of Gabriel Lamé and the Treatise of Emile Mathieu,” in The Dialectic Relation Between Physics and Mathematics in the XIXth Century, E. Barbin and R. Pisano, Eds. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2013, pp. 97–119.

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, “Whales Have Unique Voices,” IFLScience, May 18, 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, “Safeguarding Taxpayer Information: An Evaluation of the Proposed Computerized Tax Administration System,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, LCD-76-115, Jan. 1977.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Y. Zhao, “Studies on Error Control of 3-D Zerotree Wavelet Video Streaming,” Doctoral dissertation, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 2005.

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
-- Sophia Kirk and B. Mawr, “HASTE: Aid to Britain,” New York Times, p. REVIEW OF THE WEEK EDITORIALSE9, Feb. 16, 1941.

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