How to format your references using the Optical Engineering citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Optical 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
D. J. Spiegelhalter, “Statistics. The future lies in uncertainty,” Science 345(6194), 264–265 (2014).
A journal article with 2 authors
M. Zhu and P. E. Ahlberg, “The origin of the internal nostril of tetrapods,” Nature 432(7013), 94–97 (2004).
A journal article with 3 authors
H. Nielsen, E. Westhof, and S. Johansen, “An mRNA is capped by a 2’, 5’ lariat catalyzed by a group I-like ribozyme,” Science 309(5740), 1584–1587 (2005).
A journal article with 4 or more authors
K. De et al., “A hot and fast ultra-stripped supernova that likely formed a compact neutron star binary,” Science 362(6411), 201–206 (2018).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
C. Matthews, Engineers’ Data Book, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK (2012).
An edited book
A. Tolk and L. C. Jain, Eds., Intelligence-Based Systems Engineering, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg (2011).
A chapter in an edited book
A. Osipov, V. Rokhlin, and H. Xiao, “Analysis of a Differential Operator,” in Prolate Spheroidal Wave Functions of Order Zero: Mathematical Tools for Bandlimited Approximation, V. Rokhlin and H. Xiao, Eds., pp. 73–133, Springer US, Boston, MA (2013).

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 Optical Engineering.

Blog post
J. Davis, “Chickens From Hell And Cartwheeling Spiders: The Top 10 New Species 2015,” IFLScience, 23 May 2015, <> (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, “International Aviation: Competition Issues in the U.S.-U.K. Market,” T-RCED-97-103, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (1997).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
S. Hankins, “A policy analysis of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990,” Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach (2010).

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
J. Kamensky, “Red, White, Black and Blue,” in New York Times, p. BR27 (2017).

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in superscript:

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 titleOptical Engineering
AbbreviationOpt. Eng.
ISSN (print)0091-3286
ISSN (online)1560-2303
ScopeGeneral Engineering
Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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