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
Moore, C.M. Ocean Science. Microbial proteins and oceanic nutrient cycles. Science 2014, 345, 1120–1121.
A journal article with 2 authors
Kabeche, L.; Compton, D.A. Cyclin A regulates kinetochore microtubules to promote faithful chromosome segregation. Nature 2013, 502, 110–113.
A journal article with 3 authors
Richardson, A.R.; Libby, S.J.; Fang, F.C. A nitric oxide-inducible lactate dehydrogenase enables Staphylococcus aureus to resist innate immunity. Science 2008, 319, 1672–1676.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Kim, D.Y.; Lai, T.-H.; Lee, J.W.; Manders, J.R.; So, F. Multi-spectral imaging with infrared sensitive organic light emitting diode. Sci. Rep. 2014, 4, 5946.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Kharmanda, G.; El Hami, A. Reliability in Biomechanics; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2016; ISBN 9781119370840.
An edited book
Chen, A. The Principles of Geotourism; Lu, Y., Ng, Y.C.Y., Eds.; Springer Geography; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2015; ISBN 9783662466964.
A chapter in an edited book
Makke, K.R.; Thangakumar, J.; Suresh Reddy, B.V.; Somaiah, Y. Enhancing Data Caching in Ad-hoc Networks Through Benefit-Based Technique. In Proceedings of International Conference on Internet Computing and Information Communications: ICICIC Global 2012; Sathiakumar, S., Awasthi, L.K., Masillamani, M.R., Sridhar, S.S., Eds.; Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing; Springer India: New Delhi, 2014; pp. 43–52 ISBN 9788132212980.

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. Scientist Spotlight: Michael Collins 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 Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Agencies’ Reporting of Mission-Critical Classified Systems; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1999;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Luscinski, A. Best Practices in Adult Online Learning. Doctoral dissertation, Pepperdine University: Malibu, 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
Wilson, M. Trump’s First Visit Home Will Not Be a Sleepover. 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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