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
Kerr RA. PLANETARY SCIENCE: Most-Common Meteorites Find a Home Among the Asteroids. Science 2000;288:1714–5.
A journal article with 2 authors
Helliker BR, Richter SL. Subtropical to boreal convergence of tree-leaf temperatures. Nature 2008;454:511–4.
A journal article with 3 authors
Son Y-W, Cohen ML, Louie SG. Half-metallic graphene nanoribbons. Nature 2006;444:347–9.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Zhu Y, Hu X, Yang H, Gong Q. On-chip plasmon-induced transparency based on plasmonic coupled nanocavities. Sci Rep 2014;4:3752.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Aldridge P, O’Dwyer L. Practical Emergency and Critical Care Veterinary Nursing. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.; 2013.
An edited book
van de Geer S, Wegkamp M, editors. Selected Works of Willem van Zwet. New York, NY: Springer; 2012.
A chapter in an edited book
Petrillo PL, Di Bella O, Di Palo N. The UNESCO World Heritage Convention and the Enhancement of Rural Vine-Growing Landscapes. In: Golinelli GM, editor. Cultural Heritage and Value Creation: Towards New Pathways, Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2015, p. 127–69.

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. Could This Biochemist’s Veggie Burger Be The Closest Thing To Real Meat? IFLScience 2014.


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. Railroad Regulation: Competitive Access and Its Effects on Selected Railroads and Shippers. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1987.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Bryant MG. The Development of the Massive Open Online Course Virtual Learning Environment Scale (MVLE) and Model to Measure Satisfaction of MOOC Online Learning Courses in Higher Education: A Mixed Methods Study. Doctoral dissertation. University of Louisiana, 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
Mueller B. Size of Manhunt Area for 2nd Prison Escapee Significantly Expanded. New York Times 2015:A22.

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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