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
Sweatt JD (2011) Neuroscience. Creating stable memories. Science 331:869–870
A journal article with 2 authors
Kippenberg TJ, Vahala KJ (2008) Cavity optomechanics: back-action at the mesoscale. Science 321:1172–1176
A journal article with 3 authors
Toulokhonov I, Artsimovitch I, Landick R (2001) Allosteric control of RNA polymerase by a site that contacts nascent RNA hairpins. Science 292:730–733
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Fuller BG, Lampson MA, Foley EA, et al (2008) Midzone activation of aurora B in anaphase produces an intracellular phosphorylation gradient. Nature 453:1132–1136

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Flynn JR (2012) How to Improve Your Mind. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK
An edited book
Coohill PT (ed) (2010) Art Inspiring Transmutations of Life. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht
A chapter in an edited book
Muller J-M, Brisebarre N, de Dinechin F, et al (2010) The Fused Multiply-Add Instruction. In: Brisebarre N, de Dinechin F, Jeannerod C-P, et al. (eds) Handbook of Floating-Point Arithmetic. Birkhäuser, Boston, MA, pp 151–179

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 (2015) Could Tooth Regeneration Be Possible In Humans One Day? 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 (1987) National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Planned Use of Information Technology for the Space Station. 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
Lynch LE (2013) Financial regulation and economic performance: A descriptive correlation study of American financial institutions. Doctoral dissertation, University of Phoenix

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
Billard M (2010) Warhol, Target: It’s All Good. New York Times E5

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Sweatt 2011).
This sentence cites two references (Kippenberg and Vahala 2008; Sweatt 2011).

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

  • Two authors: (Kippenberg and Vahala 2008)
  • Three or more authors: (Fuller et al. 2008)

About the journal

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

Other styles