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
Walther G-R. Ecology. Tackling ecological complexity in climate impact research. Science 2007;315:606–7.
A journal article with 2 authors
Hegazy AN, Powrie F. MICROBIOME. Microbiota RORgulates intestinal suppressor T cells. Science 2015;349:929–30.
A journal article with 3 authors
Yang R, Willett SD, Goren L. In situ low-relief landscape formation as a result of river network disruption. Nature 2015;520:526–9.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Thier P, Dicke PW, Haas R, et al. Encoding of movement time by populations of cerebellar Purkinje cells. Nature 2000;405:72–6.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Mishra AR. Cellular Technologies for Emerging Markets. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2010.
An edited book
Varotsos PA. Natural Time Analysis: The New View of Time: Precursory Seismic Electric Signals, Earthquakes and other Complex Time Series. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2011.
A chapter in an edited book
Wang G, Wang H, Tao X, et al. Finding Weighted Positive Influence Dominating Set to Make Impact to Negatives: A Study on Online Social Networks in the New Millennium. In: Kaur H, Tao X, eds. ICTs and the Millennium Development Goals: A United Nations Perspective. Boston, MA: Springer US; 2014:67–80.

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
Luntz S. What Are Gravitational Waves? IFLScience. Available at 2014, 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. Deaf Education: Improved Oversight Needed for National Technical Institute for the Deaf. HRD-94-23; Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; December 16, 1993.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Nelson AF. Anxiety in the process of individuation. An in-depth psychological study. Doctoral Dissertation; Pacifica Graduate Institute; 2014.

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
Wagner J. Bruce Is Again Hitting Homers, and Again Not Attracting Interest. New York Times, July 27, 2017, B11.

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