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
Salo H (2011) Astronomy. Twisted disks. Science 332:672–673
A journal article with 2 authors
Coura JR, Viñas PA (2010) Chagas disease: a new worldwide challenge. Nature 465:S6-7
A journal article with 3 authors
Moellering ER, Muthan B, Benning C (2010) Freezing tolerance in plants requires lipid remodeling at the outer chloroplast membrane. Science 330:226–228
A journal article with 5 or more authors
Onodera R, Motoyama K, Okamatsu A, et al (2013) Potential use of folate-appended methyl-β-cyclodextrin as an anticancer agent. Sci Rep 3:1104

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Sab K, Lebée A (2015) Homogenization of Heterogeneous Thin and Thick Plates. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ
An edited book
Dart J, Wagg S (eds) (2016) Sport, Protest and Globalisation: Stopping Play. Palgrave Macmillan UK, London
A chapter in an edited book
Sarfaty J (2012) Civil Society and Education Advocacy in Ecuador. In: Verger A, Novelli M, Mundy K, et al. (eds) Campaigning for “Education for All”: Histories, Strategies and Outcomes of Transnational Advocacy Coalitions in Education. SensePublishers, Rotterdam, pp 51–64

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
Carpineti A (2016) This 3D Map Of 1.2 Million Galaxies Could Unlock The Secrets of Dark Energy. 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 (1977) Impoundments of Funds of Energy Research and Development Administration and Department of Commerce. 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
Hood EP (2015) Male teacher perspective on the recruitment of male elementary teachers: A phenomenological study. 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
Walsh MW (2016) Bills to Empower Puerto Rico to Shed Debt Face Likely G.O.P. Opposition. New York Times B3

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Salo 2011).
This sentence cites two references (Coura and Viñas 2010; Salo 2011).

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

  • Two authors: (Coura and Viñas 2010)
  • Three or more authors: (Onodera et al. 2013)

About the journal

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

Other styles