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
Smaglik, P. Shifting the Balance. Nature 2004, 427, 375.
A journal article with 2 authors
Bever, T.; Montalbetti, M. Linguistics. Noam’s Ark. Science 2002, 298, 1565–1566.
A journal article with 3 authors
Arita, I.; Nakane, M.; Fenner, F. Public Health. Is Polio Eradication Realistic? Science 2006, 312, 852–854.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Schwickert, T.A.; Lindquist, R.L.; Shakhar, G.; Livshits, G.; Skokos, D.; Kosco-Vilbois, M.H.; Dustin, M.L.; Nussenzweig, M.C. In Vivo Imaging of Germinal Centres Reveals a Dynamic Open Structure. Nature 2007, 446, 83–87.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
El Hami, A.; Radi, B. Uncertainty and Optimization in Structural Mechanics; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2013; ISBN 9781118711903.
An edited book
Advances in Multimedia Information Processing - PCM 2005: 6th Pacific Rim Conference on Multimedia, Jeju Island, Korea, November 13-16, 2005, Proceedings, Part II; Ho, Y.-S., Kim, H.-J., Eds.; Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2005; Vol. 3768; ISBN 9783540300403.
A chapter in an edited book
Mehta, C.R. Sample Size Reestimation for Confirmatory Clinical Trials. In Designs for Clinical Trials: Perspectives on Current Issues; Harrington, D., Ed.; Springer: New York, NY, 2012; pp. 81–108 ISBN 9781461401391.

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
Andrew, E. What We Learned From Chernobyl About How Radiation Affects Our Bodies 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 Entitlement to the Transportation of Dependents; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1980;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Johnson, B.D. Application of Systems Engineering Principles for Analysis of Utility Baseline Development Process. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach: Long Beach, CA, 2017.

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
Lambert, B.; Chang, S. After Legal Battle, Nassau Leader Is Re-Elected. New York Times 2006, B4.

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

Other styles