How to format your references using the Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning. 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
Zatz, M. (2005). Global voices of science. When science is not enough: fighting genetic disease in Brazil. Science (New York, N.Y.), 308(5718), 55–57.
A journal article with 2 authors
Greenwood, B., & Mutabingwa, T. (2002). Malaria in 2002. Nature, 415(6872), 670–672.
A journal article with 3 authors
Li, C., Rieppel, O., & LaBarbera, M. C. (2004). A Triassic aquatic protorosaur with an extremely long neck. Science (New York, N.Y.), 305(5692), 1931.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Tang, G., Minemoto, Y., Dibling, B., Purcell, N. H., Li, Z., Karin, M., & Lin, A. (2001). Inhibition of JNK activation through NF-kappaB target genes. Nature, 414(6861), 313–317.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Weverka, P. (2010). Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2010 All-in-One for Dummies®. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Rothman, J. (Ed.). (2012). From Identity-Based Conflict to Identity-Based Cooperation: The ARIA Approach in Theory and Practice. New York, NY: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Fürstenau, B., OldenBürger, H.-A., & Trojahner, I. (2014). Prior Knowledge of Potential Entrepreneurs. In S. Weber, F. K. Oser, F. Achtenhagen, M. Fretschner, & S. Trost (Eds.), Becoming an Entrepreneur (pp. 77–89). Rotterdam: SensePublishers.

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 Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning.

Blog post
Andrews, R. (2017, May 17). How Powerful Was A T. Rex’s Bite? Science Now Has An Answer For You.. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from


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. (1987). Additional Costs to Government: Reflagging Kuwaiti Ships and Protecting Them in the Persian Gulf (No. NSIAD-88-9FS). 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
Krishnan, R. (2014). Generalized Conditional Matching Algorithm for Ordered and Unordered Sets (Doctoral dissertation). University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

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
(nyt), S. K. (2002, May 1). World Briefing | Europe: Russia: Kremlin’s Man Wins Post Near Chechnya. New York Times, p. A15.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Zatz, 2005).
This sentence cites two references (Greenwood & Mutabingwa, 2002; Zatz, 2005).

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

  • Two authors: (Greenwood & Mutabingwa, 2002)
  • Three authors: (Li, Rieppel, & LaBarbera, 2004)
  • 6 or more authors: (Tang et al., 2001)

About the journal

Full journal titleOpen Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning
AbbreviationOpen Learn.
ISSN (print)0268-0513
ISSN (online)1469-9958

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