How to format your references using the Information Retrieval Journal citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Information Retrieval Journal. 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
Leonard, K. E. (2015). Perspective: Beyond the neural circuits. Nature, 522(7557), S56.
A journal article with 2 authors
Nimmerjahn, F., & Ravetch, J. V. (2005). Divergent immunoglobulin g subclass activity through selective Fc receptor binding. Science (New York, N.Y.), 310(5753), 1510–1512.
A journal article with 3 authors
Nishida, H., Pigg, K. B., & Rigby, J. F. (2003). Palaeobotany: Swimming sperm in an extinct Gondwanan plant. Nature, 422(6930), 396–397.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Li, Y., Ben, T., Zhang, B., Fu, Y., & Qiu, S. (2013). Ultrahigh gas storage both at low and high pressures in KOH-activated carbonized porous aromatic frameworks. Scientific reports, 3, 2420.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Good, P. I., & Hardin, J. W. (2006). Common Errors in Statistics (and How to Avoid Them). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Nick, P., & Opatrny, Z. (Eds.). (2014). Applied Plant Cell Biology: Cellular Tools and Approaches for Plant Biotechnology (Vol. 22). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Koch, T. (2006). Rapid Mathematical Programming or How to Solve Sudoku Puzzles in a Few Seconds. In H.-D. Haasis, H. Kopfer, & J. Schönberger (Eds.), Operations Research Proceedings 2005: Selected Papers of the Annual International Conference of the German Operations Research Society (GOR), Bremen, September 7–9, 2005 (pp. 21–26). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

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 Information Retrieval Journal.

Blog post
Hale, T. (2016, June 23). Sheep Get High On Valium To Help Scientists Understand Anxiety In Farm Animals. IFLScience. IFLScience. Accessed 30 October 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. (2008). Federal-Aid Highways: Federal Requirements for Highways May Influence Funding Decisions and Create Challenges, but Benefits and Costs Are Not Tracked (No. GAO-09-36). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Samel, C. (2014). Imagination and negotiation: Motivations for Cambodian women to marry Cambodian American men (Doctoral dissertation). California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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
Pilon, M. (2014, June 14). U.S.O.C. Narrows Bids to Four Cities. New York Times, p. D5.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Leonard 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Leonard 2015; Nimmerjahn and Ravetch 2005).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Nimmerjahn and Ravetch 2005)
  • Three or more authors: (Li et al. 2013)

About the journal

Full journal titleInformation Retrieval Journal
AbbreviationInf. Retr. Boston.
ISSN (print)1386-4564
ISSN (online)1573-7659
ScopeInformation Systems
Library and Information Sciences

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