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
Scarpa, T. (2006). Research funding: peer review at NIH. Science (New York, N.Y.), 311(5757), 41.
A journal article with 2 authors
O’Sullivan, D., & Pearce, E. L. (2015). Immunology. Expanding the role of metabolism in T cells. Science (New York, N.Y.), 348(6238), 976–977.
A journal article with 3 authors
Navarro-González, R., McKay, C. P., & Mvondo, D. N. (2001). A possible nitrogen crisis for Archaean life due to reduced nitrogen fixation by lightning. Nature, 412(6842), 61–64.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Liu, N., Wei, H., Li, J., Wang, Z., Tian, X., Pan, A., & Xu, H. (2013). Plasmonic amplification with ultra-high optical gain at room temperature. Scientific reports, 3, 1967.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Zhang, P. G., & Chan, T. (2011). The Chinese Yuan. 2 Clementi Loop, #02-01, Singapore 129809: John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte. Ltd.
An edited book
Díaz-Jimenez, J. P., & Rodriguez, A. N. (Eds.). (2013). Interventions in Pulmonary Medicine. New York, NY: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Alvi, A. N., Bouk, S. H., Ahmed, S. H., & Yaqub, M. A. (2016). Influence of Backoff Period in Slotted CSMA/CA of IEEE 802.15.4. In L. Mamatas, I. Matta, P. Papadimitriou, & Y. Koucheryavy (Eds.), Wired/Wireless Internet Communications: 14th IFIP WG 6.2 International Conference, WWIC 2016, Thessaloniki, Greece, May 25-27, 2016, Proceedings (pp. 40–51). 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
Andrew, E. (2015, June 18). One-Third of Earth’s Largest Groundwater Basins are “in Distress.” 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. (1999). Federal Aviation Administration: Issues Concerning the Reauthorization of Aviation Programs (No. T-RCED-99-68). 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
Schey, K. A. (2010). A paradigm for historical and biographical research in support of living history programming at Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site (Doctoral dissertation). California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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
Thomas, K. (2011, July 17). Ready to Take a Faithful Leap. New York Times, p. ST6.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Scarpa 2006).
This sentence cites two references (O’Sullivan and Pearce 2015; Scarpa 2006).

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

  • Two authors: (O’Sullivan and Pearce 2015)
  • Three or more authors: (Liu et al. 2013)

About the journal

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

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