How to format your references using the Sustainability citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Sustainability. 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
Staveteig, S.E. Scientists and Societies. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria. Nature 2005, 433, 338.
A journal article with 2 authors
Bokov, K.; Steinberg, S.V. A Hierarchical Model for Evolution of 23S Ribosomal RNA. Nature 2009, 457, 977–980.
A journal article with 3 authors
Li, J.; Sato, T.; Kageyama, A. Repeated and Sudden Reversals of the Dipole Field Generated by a Spherical Dynamo Action. Science 2002, 295, 1887–1890.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Zhao, Y.; Hu, L.; Liu, H.; Liao, M.; Fang, X.; Wu, L. Band Gap Tunable Zn2SnO4 Nanocubes through Thermal Effect and Their Outstanding Ultraviolet Light Photoresponse. Sci. Rep. 2014, 4, 6847.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Sheldrake, P. The Spiritual City; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Oxford, UK, 2014; ISBN 9781118830475.
An edited book
Mathematical Analysis and Its Applications: Roorkee, India, December 2014; Agrawal, P.N., Mohapatra, R.N., Singh, U., Srivastava, H.M., Eds.; Springer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics; Springer India: New Delhi, 2015; Vol. 143; ISBN 9788132224846.
A chapter in an edited book
Uustalu, T.; Vene, V. The Essence of Dataflow Programming. In Central European Functional Programming School: First Summer School, CEFP 2005, Budapest, Hungary, July 4-15, 2005, Revised Selected Lectures; Horváth, Z., Ed.; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2006; pp. 135–167 ISBN 9783540468431.

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 Sustainability.

Blog post
Fang, J. This Red Flower Curves to Conform to a Bird’s Bill Available online: (accessed on 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 Review of a Computer Hardware Acquisition for NOAA in Boulder, Colorado; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1981;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Volkmer, J.E. The Cretaceous-Tertiary Tectonic Evolution of the Lhasa Terrane, Tibet. Doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona: Tucson, AZ, 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
Qiu, L. On Spectrum of Extremism, Far Left Takes Relatively Little Space. New York Times 2017, A13.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

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 titleSustainability
ISSN (online)2071-1050
ScopeRenewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Geography, Planning and Development

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