How to format your references using the TOP citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for TOP. 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
van der Greef J (2011) Perspective: All systems go. Nature 480:S87
A journal article with 2 authors
Hillebrand R, Gösele U (2004) Physics. Woodpiles for photons. Science 305:187–188
A journal article with 3 authors
Koskinen TT, Aylward AD, Miller S (2007) A stability limit for the atmospheres of giant extrasolar planets. Nature 450:845–848
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Wilson RJ, Thomas CD, Fox R, et al (2004) Spatial patterns in species distributions reveal biodiversity change. Nature 432:393–396

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
El-Haik B, Roy DM (2005) Service Design for Six Sigma. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ
An edited book
Bhushan B, Kawata S, Fuchs H (eds) (2007) Applied Scanning Probe Methods V: Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
A chapter in an edited book
Fridkin V, Ducharme S (2014) Ferroelectric Nanocrystals and Nanodomains. In: Ducharme S (ed) Ferroelectricity at the Nanoscale: Basics and Applications. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 67–85

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 TOP.

Blog post
Fang J (2014) Existence of Exotic Hadron Confirmed. In: IFLScience. Accessed 30 Oct 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 (2006) Highway Finance: States’ Expanding Use of Tolling Illustrates Diverse Challenges and Strategies. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Roberson BN (2013) Motivation towards learning perceived in Socratic seminar versus traditional lecture. Doctoral dissertation, Pepperdine University

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
Yablonsky L (2010) A Cut Above. New York Times ST3

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (van der Greef 2011).
This sentence cites two references (Hillebrand and Gösele 2004; van der Greef 2011).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Hillebrand and Gösele 2004)
  • Three or more authors: (Wilson et al. 2004)

About the journal

Full journal titleTOP
ISSN (print)1134-5764
ISSN (online)1863-8279
ScopeDiscrete Mathematics and Combinatorics
Statistics and Probability

Other styles