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
Jain, K.K. Tech.Sight. Biochips for Gene Spotting. Science 2001, 294, 621–623.
A journal article with 2 authors
Nisbet, M.C.; Mooney, C. Science and Society. Framing Science. Science 2007, 316, 56.
A journal article with 3 authors
Burkle, L.A.; Marlin, J.C.; Knight, T.M. Plant-Pollinator Interactions over 120 Years: Loss of Species, Co-Occurrence, and Function. Science 2013, 339, 1611–1615.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Kim, J.B.; Porreca, G.J.; Song, L.; Greenway, S.C.; Gorham, J.M.; Church, G.M.; Seidman, C.E.; Seidman, J.G. Polony Multiplex Analysis of Gene Expression (PMAGE) in Mouse Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Science 2007, 316, 1481–1484.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Gywat, O.; Krenner, H.J.; Berezovsky, J. Spins in Optically Active Quantum Dots; Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA: Weinheim, Germany, 2009; ISBN 9783527628988.
An edited book
Vázquez, M. The Earth as a Distant Planet: A Rosetta Stone for the Search of Earth-Like Worlds; Pallé, E., Montañés Rodríguez, P., Eds.; Astronomy and Astrophysics Library; Springer: New York, NY, 2010; ISBN 9781441916839.
A chapter in an edited book
Sun, X. Construction Data Mining Information Management System Based on FCA and Ontology. In Advances in Electronic Engineering, Communication and Management Vol.1: Proceedings of 2011 International Conference on Electronic Engineering, Communication and Management(EECM 2011), held on December 24-25, 2011, Beijing, China; Jin, D., Lin, S., Eds.; Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering; Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg, 2012; pp. 19–24 ISBN 9783642272868.

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
Evans, K. Can Video Games Influence Sexist Attitudes? (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 Bankruptcy Reform: Value of Credit Counseling Requirements Is Not Clear; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 2007;

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Schluter, K.T. Hearing Words without Structure: Subliminal Speech Priming and the Organization of the Moroccan Arabic Lexicon. Doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona: Tucson, AZ, 2013.

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
Vecsey, G. Parallel Coaching Paths, Decades Apart. New York Times 2011, SP2.

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