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
Zolla-Pazner, S. (2014). A critical question for HIV vaccine development: which antibodies to induce? Science (New York, N.Y.), 345(6193), 167–168.
A journal article with 2 authors
Auer, S., & Frenkel, D. (2001). Suppression of crystal nucleation in polydisperse colloids due to increase of the surface free energy. Nature, 413(6857), 711–713.
A journal article with 3 authors
Adkins, J. F., McIntyre, K., & Schrag, D. P. (2002). The salinity, temperature, and delta18O of the glacial deep ocean. Science (New York, N.Y.), 298(5599), 1769–1773.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Brown, S., Janssen, M., Adumitroaie, V., Atreya, S., Bolton, S., Gulkis, S., Ingersoll, A., Levin, S., Li, C., Li, L., Lunine, J., Misra, S., Orton, G., Steffes, P., Tabataba-Vakili, F., Kolmašová, I., Imai, M., Santolík, O., Kurth, W., … Connerney, J. (2018). Prevalent lightning sferics at 600 megahertz near Jupiter’s poles. Nature, 558(7708), 87–90.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Ramirez, J. (2015). Accounting for Derivatives. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Grehn, F., & Stamper, R. (Eds.). (2006). Glaucoma. Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Schade, R., & Chacana, P. A. (2007). Livetin Fractions (IgY). In R. Huopalahti, R. López-Fandiño, M. Anton, & R. Schade (Eds.), Bioactive Egg Compounds (pp. 25–32). Springer.

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
Hale, T. (2016, November 7). Giant Snowballs Show Up Along A Siberian Beach. 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. (1995). Aviation Safety: Data Problems Threaten FAA Strides on Safety Analysis System (AIMD-95-27). 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
Rosenfeld, E. G. (2009). The ascent of women to senior leadership positions in the financial services industry: A phenomenological study [Doctoral dissertation]. Capella University.

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
Rubin, J. P. (2017, April 8). 59 Missiles Don’t Equal a Foreign Policy. New York Times, SR2.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Zolla-Pazner, 2014).
This sentence cites two references (Auer & Frenkel, 2001; Zolla-Pazner, 2014).

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

  • Two authors: (Auer & Frenkel, 2001)
  • Three authors: (Adkins et al., 2002)
  • 6 or more authors: (Brown et al., 2018)

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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