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
Alexander, R.M. Obituary: Knut Schmidt-Nielsen (1915-2007). Nature 2007, 446, 744.
A journal article with 2 authors
Wang, B.; Ohgushi, K. Superconductivity in anti-post-Perovskite vanadium compounds. Sci. Rep. 2013, 3, 3381.
A journal article with 3 authors
Li, A.C.Y.; Petruccione, F.; Koch, J. Perturbative approach to Markovian open quantum systems. Sci. Rep. 2014, 4, 4887.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Li, J.; Li, X.; Zhai, H.-J.; Wang, L.-S. Au20: a tetrahedral cluster. Science 2003, 299, 864–867.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Kaschke, M.; Donnerhacke, K.-H.; Rill, M.S. Optical Devices in Ophthalmology and Optometry; Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA: Weinheim, Germany, 2014; ISBN 9783527648962.
An edited book
Steinhaus, H. Mathematician for All Seasons: Recollections and Notes, Vol. 2 (1945–1968); Burns, R.G., Szymaniec, I., Weron, A., Eds.; Vita Mathematica; 1st ed. 2016.; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2016; Vol. 19; ISBN 9783319231013.
A chapter in an edited book
Valocchi, A.J. Hydrogeochemical Models. In Delivery and Mixing in the Subsurface: Processes and Design Principles for In Situ Remediation; Kitanidis, P.K., McCarty, P.L., Eds.; SERDP/ESTCP Environmental Remediation Technology; Springer: New York, NY, 2012; pp. 77–116 ISBN 9781461422389.

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
Luntz, S. Surgeons Go Through Toddler’s Liver To Replace Heart Valve Available online: (accessed on Oct 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 Data Security Software; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1986;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Wester, A.M. Readers’ trust, socio-demographic, and acuity influences in citizen journalism credibility for disrupted online newspapers. Doctoral dissertation, University of Phoenix: Phoenix, AZ, 2013.

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
Poniewozik, J. An Old Log Learns Some New Tricks. New York Times 2017, C1.

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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