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
Burke B (2015) Cell biology: nuclear dilemma resolved. Nature 522:159–160
A journal article with 2 authors
Enriquez J, Gullans S (2012) Olympics: Genetically enhanced Olympics are coming. Nature 487:297
A journal article with 3 authors
Grutzendler J, Kasthuri N, Gan W-B (2002) Long-term dendritic spine stability in the adult cortex. Nature 420:812–816
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Distel DL, Baco AR, Chuang E, et al (2000) Do mussels take wooden steps to deep-sea vents? Nature 403:725–726

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Gordon ME (2009) Trump University Entrepreneurship 101. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ
An edited book
Chauvin R, Lepetit C, Silvi B, Alikhani E (eds) (2016) Applications of Topological Methods in Molecular Chemistry. Springer International Publishing, Cham
A chapter in an edited book
Chtcherbakov A, Bloxam R, Yap D, et al (2006) Models-3/CMAQ Simulations to Estimate Transboundary Influences on Ozone and Particulate Matter Concentrations Over Ontario in Spring – Summer 1998. In: Borrego C, Norman A-L (eds) Air Pollution Modeling and Its Application XVII. Springer US, Boston, MA, pp 41–47

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 (2015) Why Do Capuchin Monkeys Cover Themselves In Smelly Substances? 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 (1992) Highway Trust Fund: Strategies for Safeguarding Highway Financing. 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
Hendricks J (2017) Playing-With the World: Toy Story’s Aesthetics and Metaphysics of Play. Doctoral dissertation, University of South Florida

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
Murphy MJO, Schuessler J (2013) Jane, Plain No More: A Year of Austen Glamour. New York Times C28

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Burke 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Enriquez and Gullans 2012; Burke 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Enriquez and Gullans 2012)
  • Three or more authors: (Distel et al. 2000)

About the journal

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

Other styles