How to format your references using the Systems citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Systems. 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
Shelton, J.D. HIV/AIDS. ARVs as HIV prevention: a tough road to wide impact. Science 2011, 334, 1645–1646.
A journal article with 2 authors
Jarvis, P.; Linder, S. Constraints to growth of boreal forests. Nature 2000, 405, 904–905.
A journal article with 3 authors
Thompson, R.J.; Zhou, N.; MacVicar, B.A. Ischemia opens neuronal gap junction hemichannels. Science 2006, 312, 924–927.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Colman-Lerner, A.; Gordon, A.; Serra, E.; Chin, T.; Resnekov, O.; Endy, D.; Pesce, C.G.; Brent, R. Regulated cell-to-cell variation in a cell-fate decision system. Nature 2005, 437, 699–706.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Abd-El-Barr, M.; El-Rewini, H. Fundamentals of Computer Organization and Architecture; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ, 2004; ISBN 9780471478324.
An edited book
Mixed Finite Element Technologies; Carstensen, C., Wriggers, P., Eds.; CISM International Centre for Mechanical Sciences; Springer: Vienna, 2009; Vol. 509; ISBN 9783211990926.
A chapter in an edited book
Jones, E.; Ryan, M. The Dancer as Reflective Practitioner. In Teaching Reflective Learning in Higher Education: A Systematic Approach Using Pedagogic Patterns; Ryan, M.E., Ed.; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2015; pp. 51–64 ISBN 9783319092706.

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 Systems.

Blog post
Davis, J. Scientists Claim To Have Reversed Menopause 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 Medicaid: Questionable Practices Boost Federal Payments for School-Based Services; 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
Murillo, K. An analysis of California community college budget policy key components in multicollege districts. Doctoral dissertation, Pepperdine University: Malibu, CA, 2010.

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
Witt, J.F. Court Provocateur. New York Times 2016, BR27.

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 titleSystems
ISSN (online)2079-8954

Other styles