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
Jimenez-Sanchez G. Developing a platform for genomic medicine in Mexico. Science 2003;300:295–6.
A journal article with 2 authors
Constantinople CM, Bruno RM. Deep cortical layers are activated directly by thalamus. Science 2013;340:1591–4.
A journal article with 3 authors
Dickinson DJ, Nelson WJ, Weis WI. A polarized epithelium organized by beta- and alpha-catenin predates cadherin and metazoan origins. Science 2011;331:1336–9.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Sun Y, Olson R, Horning M, et al. Mechanism of glutamate receptor desensitization. Nature 2002;417:245–53.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Levin R. Implementing the Wealth Management Index. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2011.
An edited book
Ortiz-Arroyo D, Larsen HL, Zeng DD, et al. (eds). Intelligence and Security Informatics: First European Conference, EuroISI 2008, Esbjerg, Denmark, December 3-5, 2008. Proceedings. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2008.
A chapter in an edited book
Nasim F-UH, Khalil R, Sumreen A, et al. Nickel Metal Uptake and Metal-Specific Stress Alleviation in a Perennial Desert Grass Cenchrus ciliaris. In: Öztürk M, Ashraf M, Aksoy A, et al., eds. Plants, Pollutants and Remediation. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2015:99–110.

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
Andrew E. Celebrity Selfies Helped us to Uncover How Memories are Formed in the Brain. IFLScience. Available at 2015, 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. Research and Development: Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center’s Process for Funding Projects. AIMD-99-277R; Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; September 24, 1999.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Malet DS. Foreign fighters: Transnational identity in civil conflicts. Doctoral Dissertation; George Washington University; 2009.

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
Sisario B. Licensing Accord Eases Spotify’s Path to Going Public. New York Times, April 4, 2017, B3.

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