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
Coles, P. (2005). The state of the Universe. Nature, 433(7023), 248–256.
A journal article with 2 authors
Gale, M., Jr, & Foy, E. M. (2005). Evasion of intracellular host defence by hepatitis C virus. Nature, 436(7053), 939–945.
A journal article with 3 authors
Marusic, I., Mathis, R., & Hutchins, N. (2010). Predictive model for wall-bounded turbulent flow. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5988), 193–196.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Lu, H.-X., Cao, L.-Z., Zhao, J.-Q., Li, Y.-D., & Wang, X.-Q. (2014). Extreme violation of local realism with a hyper-entangled four-photon-eight-qubit Greenberger-Horne-Zelinger state. Scientific Reports, 4, 4476.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Bojowald, M. (2012). The Universe: A View from Classical and Quantum Gravity. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
An edited book
Fiengo, G. (2013). Common Rail System for GDI Engines: Modelling, Identification, and Control (A. di Gaeta, A. Palladino, & V. Giglio, Eds.). Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Fogue, M., Garrido, P., Martinez, F. J., Cano, J.-C., Calafate, C. T., & Manzoni, P. (2012). Using Data Mining and Vehicular Networks to Estimate the Severity of Traffic Accidents. In J. Casillas, F. J. Martínez-López, & J. M. Corchado Rodríguez (Eds.), Management Intelligent Systems: First International Symposium (pp. 37–46). Springer.

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 19). How A Saviour Of The Ozone Hole Became A Climate Change Villain – And How We’re Going To Fix It. 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. (1989). Aviation Safety: FAA Has Improved Its Removal Procedures for Pilot Examiners (RCED-89-199). 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
Regmi, K. (2015). Computer Vision and Image Processing Toolbox for MATLAB [Doctoral dissertation]. Southern Illinois University.

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
Kaplan, J. (2013, August 23). Ladies’ Man. New York Times, MM44.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Coles, 2005).
This sentence cites two references (Coles, 2005; Gale & Foy, 2005).

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

  • Two authors: (Gale & Foy, 2005)
  • Three authors: (Marusic et al., 2010)
  • 6 or more authors: (Lu et al., 2014)

About the journal

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

Other styles