How to format your references using the Spine citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Spine. 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.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
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
Boisvert CA. The pelvic fin and girdle of Panderichthys and the origin of tetrapod locomotion. Nature 2005;438:1145–7.
A journal article with 2 authors
Pearce TM, Moran DW. Strategy-dependent encoding of planned arm movements in the dorsal premotor cortex. Science 2012;337:984–8.
A journal article with 3 authors
Lam FH, Steger DJ, O’Shea EK. Chromatin decouples promoter threshold from dynamic range. Nature 2008;453:246–50.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Klass K-D, Zompro O, Kristensen NP, et al. Mantophasmatodea: a new insect order with extant members in the Afrotropics. Science 2002;296:1456–9.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Davis TB. Audel Industrial Multi-Craft Mini-Ref. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2011.
An edited book
Liang Y. Silicon in Agriculture: From Theory to Practice. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2015.
A chapter in an edited book
Gamlem SM. Feedback in the Mentoring of Teacher Learning. In: Tillema H, Westhuizen GJ van der, Smith K, eds. Mentoring for Learning: “Climbing the Mountain.” Rotterdam: SensePublishers; 2015:79–97.

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 Spine.

Blog post
Carpineti A. Life On Earth Might Have Started Inside Comet Craters. IFLScience. Available at 2016, Accessed October 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. ADP Acquisitions: OCC’s Procurement of Laser Printers is Proper but ADP Statutes Apply. IMTEC-87-17; Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; April 9, 1987.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Tuinenga JM. John Corigliano’s Sonata for violin and piano: An analysis of context, structure, and style. 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
Kishkovsky S. Bury Lenin? Russian Minister Stirs Debate Over Soviet Past. New York Times, June 14, 2012, A6.

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 titleSpine
AbbreviationSpine (Phila. Pa. 1976)
ISSN (print)0362-2436
ISSN (online)1528-1159
ScopeClinical Neurology
Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Other styles