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
Dixon, R. A. (2001). Natural products and plant disease resistance. Nature, 411(6839), 843–847.
A journal article with 2 authors
Macosko, E. Z., & McCarroll, S. A. (2013). Genetics. Our fallen genomes. Science (New York, N.Y.), 342(6158), 564–565.
A journal article with 3 authors
Scholz, M., Lo, C.-C., & Chain, P. S. G. (2014). Improved assemblies using a source-agnostic pipeline for MetaGenomic Assembly by Merging (MeGAMerge) of contigs. Scientific Reports, 4, 6480.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Hubler, Z., Allimuthu, D., Bederman, I., Elitt, M. S., Madhavan, M., Allan, K. C., Shick, H. E., Garrison, E., T Karl, M., Factor, D. C., Nevin, Z. S., Sax, J. L., Thompson, M. A., Fedorov, Y., Jin, J., Wilson, W. K., Giera, M., Bracher, F., Miller, R. H., … Adams, D. J. (2018). Accumulation of 8,9-unsaturated sterols drives oligodendrocyte formation and remyelination. Nature, 560(7718), 372–376.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bowling, J. (2011). Diagnostic Dermoscopy. Wiley-Blackwell.
An edited book
Lang, R., Hancock, T. B., & Singh, N. N. (Eds.). (2016). Early Intervention for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Haegele, M., Maufroy, C., Kraus, W., Siee, M., & Breuninger, J. (2015). Musculoskeletal Robots and Wearable Devices on the Basis of Cable-driven Actuators. In A. Verl, A. Albu-Schäffer, O. Brock, & A. Raatz (Eds.), Soft Robotics: Transferring Theory to Application (pp. 42–53). 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 Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning.

Blog post
Andrew, E. (2015, September 2). The Secret Sex Life And Pregnancy Of A Seahorse Dad. IFLScience; IFLScience.


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. (1978). Establishment of a Central Focal Point for Telecommunications Matters (B-131935). 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
Baruth, L. E. (2010). Joan Tower and the clarinet: An examination of her compositional style and a performer’s guide to “RAIN WAVES” (1997) and “A GIFT” (2007) [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Cincinnati.

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
Strauss, B. (2016, September 28). Like Father, Like Son. Like the Cubs? No Way! New York Times, B11.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Dixon, 2001).
This sentence cites two references (Dixon, 2001; Macosko & McCarroll, 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Macosko & McCarroll, 2013)
  • Three authors: (Scholz et al., 2014)
  • 6 or more authors: (Hubler et al., 2018)

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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