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
Scully T (2014) Obesity. Nature 508:S49
A journal article with 2 authors
Bengtson S, Rasmussen B (2009) Paleontology. New and ancient trace makers. Science 323:346–347
A journal article with 3 authors
Burlaga LF, Ness NF, Stone EC (2013) Magnetic field observations as Voyager 1 entered the heliosheath depletion region. Science 341:147–150
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Degroote P, Aerts C, Baglin A, et al (2010) Deviations from a uniform period spacing of gravity modes in a massive star. Nature 464:259–261

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Pischella M, Le Ruyet D (2015) Digital Communications 2. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ
An edited book
Granville A, Rudnick Z (eds) (2007) Equidistribution in Number Theory, An Introduction. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht
A chapter in an edited book
Papaioannou GC, McHugh KJ (2014) Imaging Principles in Pediatric Oncology. In: Gouliamos AD, Andreou J, Kosmidis P (eds) Imaging in Clinical Oncology. Springer, Milano, pp 65–71

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
Andrews R (2017) Did The Tunguska Event Of 1908 Leave A Hidden Impact Crater? 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) Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites: Cost Increases Trigger Review and Place Program’s Direction on Hold. 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
Demenkoff JH (2014) Evolution and emergence of the masculinities: Epiphanies and epiphenomena of the male athlete and dancer. Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute

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
Eligon J (2017) T. I. Writes Letters to Obama and Trump. New York Times C3

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Scully 2014).
This sentence cites two references (Bengtson and Rasmussen 2009; Scully 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Bengtson and Rasmussen 2009)
  • Three or more authors: (Degroote et al. 2010)

About the journal

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

Other styles