How to format your references using the Synthese citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Synthese. 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.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
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
Monastersky, R. (2009). Shooting for the moon. Nature, 460(7253), 314–315.
A journal article with 2 authors
Tanaka, T., & Washimi, H. (2002). Formation of the three-ring structure around supernova 1987A. Science (New York, N.Y.), 296(5566), 321–322.
A journal article with 3 authors
Meierbachtol, T., Harper, J., & Humphrey, N. (2013). Basal drainage system response to increasing surface melt on the Greenland ice sheet. Science (New York, N.Y.), 341(6147), 777–779.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Mandal, S., El-Amin, A., Alexander, K., Rajendran, B., & Jha, R. (2014). Novel synaptic memory device for neuromorphic computing. Scientific reports, 4, 5333.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Zigangirov, K. S. (2004). Theory of Code Division Multiple Access Communication. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Comon-Lundh, H., Kirchner, C., & Kirchner, H. (Eds.). (2007). Rewriting, Computation and Proof: Essays Dedicated to Jean-Pierre Jouannaud on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday (Vol. 4600). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Page, D., & Smart, N. (2014). Demystifying Web-Search: the Mathematics of PageRank. In N. Smart (Ed.), What Is Computer Science?: An Information Security Perspective (pp. 99–124). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

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 Synthese.

Blog post
Andrews, R. (2016, September 2). Extremely Rare White Orcas Spotted In Russian Waters. IFLScience. IFLScience. Accessed 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. (1989). Schedule Delays and Cost Overruns Plague DOD Automated Information Systems (No. T-IMTEC-89-8). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Nichols, J. (2012). Genetic and genomic mechanisms of neonatal hyperoxic lung injury in the inbred mouse (Doctoral dissertation). University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

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
Wagner, J. (2016, October 9). Two Pitchers Conquer Struggles and Morph Into Game 2 Starters. New York Times, p. SP2.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Monastersky 2009).
This sentence cites two references (Monastersky 2009; Tanaka and Washimi 2002).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Tanaka and Washimi 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Mandal et al. 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titleSynthese
ISSN (print)0039-7857
ISSN (online)1573-0964
General Social Sciences

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