How to format your references using the Writing Systems Research citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Writing Systems Research. 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
Bradforth, S. (2011). Chemistry. Tracking state-to-state bimolecular reaction dynamics in solution. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6023), 1398–1399.
A journal article with 2 authors
Pullum, G. K., & Scholz, B. C. (2001). More than words. Nature, 413(6854), 367.
A journal article with 3 authors
Hanash, S. M., Pitteri, S. J., & Faca, V. M. (2008). Mining the plasma proteome for cancer biomarkers. Nature, 452(7187), 571–579.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Noonan, J. P., Hofreiter, M., Smith, D., Priest, J. R., Rohland, N., Rabeder, G., Krause, J., Detter, J. C., Pääbo, S., & Rubin, E. M. (2005). Genomic sequencing of Pleistocene cave bears. Science (New York, N.Y.), 309(5734), 597–599.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Luther, G. W., III. (2016). Inorganic Chemistry for Geochemistry and Environmental Sciences. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Farooq, M., & Siddique, K. H. M. (Eds.). (2015). Conservation Agriculture. Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Muraoka, T., Watanabe, Y., & Kanosue, K. (2015). Intra- and Inter-person Coordinated Movements of Fingers and Toes. In K. Kanosue, T. Nagami, & J. Tsuchiya (Eds.), Sports Performance (pp. 37–48). Springer Japan.

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 Writing Systems Research.

Blog post
Fang, J. (2015, March 18). 17-Million-Year-Old Whale Fossil Gives Hints To The Dawn Of Humanity. IFLScience; IFLScience.


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. (2007). Space Based Infrared System High Program and its Alternative (GAO-07-1088R). U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
Baruth, L. E. (2010). Joan Tower and the clarinet: An examination of her compositional style and a performer’s guide to “RAIN WAVES” (1997) and “A GIFT” (2007) [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Cincinnati.

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
Alexander, K. (2011, October 2). What Should I Stop Buying and Make Instead? New York Times, MM48.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Bradforth, 2011).
This sentence cites two references (Bradforth, 2011; Pullum & Scholz, 2001).

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

  • Two authors: (Pullum & Scholz, 2001)
  • Three authors: (Hanash et al., 2008)
  • 6 or more authors: (Noonan et al., 2005)

About the journal

Full journal titleWriting Systems Research
AbbreviationWrit. Syst. Res.
ISSN (print)1758-6801
ISSN (online)1758-681X
ScopeLanguage and Linguistics
Linguistics and Language

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