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
Jungmann, K.P. Particle Physics: Matter and Antimatter Scrutinized. Nature 2015, 524, 168–169.
A journal article with 2 authors
Yamamoto, J.; Tanaka, H. Transparent Nematic Phase in a Liquid-Crystal-Based Microemulsion. Nature 2001, 409, 321–325.
A journal article with 3 authors
Toyoshima, C.; Nomura, H.; Tsuda, T. Lumenal Gating Mechanism Revealed in Calcium Pump Crystal Structures with Phosphate Analogues. Nature 2004, 432, 361–368.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Brandon, A.D.; Humayun, M.; Puchtel, I.S.; Leya, I.; Zolensky, M. Osmium Isotope Evidence for an S-Process Carrier in Primitive Chondrites. Science 2005, 309, 1233–1236.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Jelaska, D. Gears and Gear Drives; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, UK, 2012; ISBN 9781118392393.
An edited book
Trefzer, M.A. Evolvable Hardware: From Practice to Application; Tyrrell, A.M., Ed.; Natural Computing Series; 1st ed. 2015.; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2015; ISBN 9783662446157.
A chapter in an edited book
Stathi, S.; Roscini, C. Identity and Acculturation Processes in Multicultural Societies. In Understanding Peace and Conflict Through Social Identity Theory: Contemporary Global Perspectives; McKeown, S., Haji, R., Ferguson, N., Eds.; Peace Psychology Book Series; Springer International Publishing: Cham, 2016; pp. 55–69 ISBN 9783319298672.

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
Luntz, S. Turing’s Biological Work Passes Test Available online: (accessed on 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 Emergency Communications: Survey of Selected Federal Agencies’ Use and Procurement of Land Mobile Radio Equipment (GAO-17-13SP, October 5, 2016), an E-Supplement to GAO-17-12; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2016;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Ji, Y. Dynamic Genetic Control: Manipulating Cell Behaviors Using Heat. Doctoral dissertation, University of California San Diego: La Jolla, CA, 2017.

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. Mets’ Pitching Coach Offers Wisdom and Wit. New York Times 2017, D6.

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