How to format your references using the The Spine Journal citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for The Spine Journal. 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
Kim J. Absorption-assisted mode transformation in butterfly compound eyes. Sci Rep 2014;4:6291.
A journal article with 2 authors
Theis TN, Solomon PM. It’s time to reinvent the transistor! Science 2010;327:1600–1.
A journal article with 3 authors
Rozitis B, MacLennan E, Emery JP. Cohesive forces prevent the rotational breakup of rubble-pile asteroid (29075) 1950 DA. Nature 2014;512:174–6.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Liu X, Xiang W, Jiao X, Zhang Y, Xie W, Wu Q, et al. Effects of plant virus and its insect vector on Encarsia formosa, a biocontrol agent of whiteflies. Sci Rep 2014;4:5926.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Laursen GHN, Thorlund J. Business Analytics for Managers. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2016.
An edited book
Varma A, Kost G, Oelmüller R, editors. Piriformospora indica: Sebacinales and Their Biotechnological Applications. vol. 33. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer; 2013.
A chapter in an edited book
Toh S, Itano T, Satoh K. Co-Supporting Cycle: Sustaining Mechanism of Large-Scale Structures and Near-Wall Structures in Channel Flow Turbulence. In: Mullin T, Kerswell R, editors. IUTAM Symposium on Laminar-Turbulent Transition and Finite Amplitude Solutions, Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2005, p. 71–83.

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 The Spine Journal.

Blog post
Andrew E. Robot Velociraptor Runs Faster Than Usain Bolt. IFLScience 2014. (accessed October 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. Aerospace Plane Technology: Research and Development Efforts in Japan and Australia. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1991.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Nguyen T. Nail technician students’ awareness of some health effects of long-term exposure to chemicals used in nail salons and their understanding of health protection. Doctoral dissertation. California State University, Long Beach, 2012.

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
La Gorce T. Fire Up the Pit: My Brisket Can Burn Yours. New York Times 2012:NJ8.

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 titleThe Spine Journal
AbbreviationSpine J.
ISSN (print)1529-9430
ScopeClinical Neurology

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