How to format your references using the System citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for System. 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
Benovic, J. L. (2015). Structural biology: Arresting developments in receptor signalling. Nature, 523(7562), 538–539.
A journal article with 2 authors
Mizuno, T., & Kubo, H. (2013). Overview of active cesium contamination of freshwater fish in Fukushima and Eastern Japan. Scientific Reports, 3, 1742.
A journal article with 3 authors
Hare, T. A., Camerer, C. F., & Rangel, A. (2009). Self-control in decision-making involves modulation of the vmPFC valuation system. Science (New York, N.Y.), 324(5927), 646–648.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Abraham, E. R., Law, C. S., Boyd, P. W., Lavender, S. J., Maldonado, M. T., & Bowie, A. R. (2000). Importance of stirring in the development of an iron-fertilized phytoplankton bloom. Nature, 407(6805), 727–730.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Davison, M. (2011). Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Feichtinger, H. G. (2008). Pseudo-Differential Operators: Quantization and Signals (B. Helffer, M. P. Lamoureux, N. Lerner, J. Toft, L. Rodino, & M. W. Wong, Eds.; Vol. 1949). Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Lee, W. (2015). Structural Engineering of Porous Anodic Aluminum Oxide (AAO) and Applications. In D. Losic & A. Santos (Eds.), Nanoporous Alumina: Fabrication, Structure, Properties and Applications (pp. 107–153). 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 System.

Blog post
Andrew, D. (2016, October 10). 15 Healthy Eating Habits That Work, According To Science. IFLScience; IFLScience.


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. (2004). Aviation Security: Further Steps Needed to Strengthen the Security of Commercial Airport Perimeters and Access Controls (GAO-04-728). 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
Rooks, D. L. (2009). Science for all: Experiences and outcomes of students with visual impairment in a guided inquiry-based classroom [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Arizona.

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
Sisario, B., & Ember, S. (2016, October 17). Facing the Music. New York Times, B1.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Benovic, 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Benovic, 2015; Mizuno & Kubo, 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Mizuno & Kubo, 2013)
  • Three authors: (Hare et al., 2009)
  • 6 or more authors: (Abraham et al., 2000)

About the journal

Full journal titleSystem
ISSN (print)0346-251X
ScopeLanguage and Linguistics
Linguistics and Language

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