IEEE Citation Format: Specificity of Citation and Compilation of Bibliographic Descriptions

IEEE Citation Format: Specificity of Citation and Compilation of Bibliographic Descriptions

In the scientific world, there are more than 6,000 different styles of citing sources in scientific papers, depending on the area, the place where the work is published. These rules have been developed by professional, scientific associations. Thus, if you want to create an article for publication in an international edition, it must be drafted accordingly, using the format of the citation required by a particular publisher.

IEEE is one of such styles. Today, it is widely used for writing various research papers in Informatics and programming, as well as electronics and mechanical engineering. IEEE citation format involves the use of different links in the text of the work whenever you cite an original source, be it a paraphrase or a citation. It provides a wide range of requirements for the quotation as well as the arrangement of links at the end of the paper. It seems important to analyze these peculiarities in more detail below.

General Citation Provisions

Try to carefully study the citation requirements in the IEEE citation format:

  • A citation is mandatory if you mention someone’s work in your publication, regardless of whether you are directly quoting someone’s text or paraphrasing someone;
  • The quote is made through an out-of-text link;
  • The reference is represented in square brackets. It is usually placed inside the quoted fragment after the surname of an author or immediately after the quoted fragment in the absence of the surname in the text;
  • An out-of-text link comprises the ordinal number of a source where the quote was borrowed;
  • Throughout the text, the quote has the same number to which it was originally provided;
  • When quoting several sources at the same time, it is appropriate to represent each number in separate parentheses, separating them with a comma;
  • When quoting one source again, do not use “ibid”: the previous reference number should be given in parentheses. The number in parentheses should be accompanied by a page space or other indication of the place from which the information for quotation is borrowed;
  • You should be careful when editing links since it can lead to failure in numbering and quotation;
  • Follow the IEEE citation format throughout the publication.

Taking into account all of the above, it seems necessary to represent several useful examples of quotes arranged in the IEEE citation format. First of all, we should indicate that citation inside the line (a piece of text in several lines) is taken in quotation marks. Here are several examples:

“The foundation of this theory was first laid in 1991 [1].”

“According to the opinion of scientists [1], [7], [24], [39] who conducted research in this area…”

Paraphrase (the retelling of someone else text) is not taken in quotation marks:

Previous surveys [8], [11], [14], [19] have refuted the idea of applying a fuel-free engine.

The author completed his research and summed up the results [13].

Compilation of The List of References

An important part of scientific work is a list of sources used, which reflects the degree of study of the topic, is the professional face of the author, and indicates the level of skills in working with sources of information. It is a reflection of the author’s independent creative work, which provides an opportunity to assess the degree of fundamentality of the research.

The process of compiling a bibliographic list is quite complex and lengthy. The main task is to carefully analyze the sources, their rational location, ensuring the connection with the text, as well as compliance with the basic requirements of standards, and so on.

General Tips for Creation of a Bibliographic Description

Basic requirements for compiling a description include the following:

  • Bibliographic lists contain information necessary and sufficient to identify and search for the source;
  • The description of the source begins with the initials. After the initials of the author, his/her surname is usually indicated;
  • Editors, compilers, etc. should also be indicated as authors;
  • The names of two authors are given if the publication has two authors;
  • If the source has from three to six authors, it is important to list all through a comma;
  • If the source has more than six authors, the first six are mentioned and after the name of the sixth author “et al” is written;
  • The phrase “et al” may also be used in the case when the co-authors are not known;
  • The article`s title is given in capital letters and direct font;
  • In the bibliographic description of the article from the periodical and for the patent, you should indicate the full publication date (with the indication of a day, month, year). If the date is missing, indicate the number;
  • The title of the book or magazine is given in capital letters in italics;
  • If next to the name of the printed document there is its URL address, it should also be represented in the description;
  • Information about the publication is given after the title of the book through a comma;
  • Indicate the place of publication, name of the publisher and year of publication;
  • The country is added to the places of publication which are not located in the territory of the USA;
  • The total number of pages in the description of a source is not given;
  • Page interval is provided for periodicals, collections, etc.;
  • For electronic and online documents, the DOI is specified, or URL is provided.

Samples of Bibliographic Descriptions

The following are samples of descriptions for various types of sources in the IEEE citation format.


B. Klaus, Came Theory. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1984


Communication Systems, 2nd ed., Western Electric Co., Winston-Salem, NC, 1986, p. 49-60


E. Reber “Autism Spectrum Disorders,” Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, Tech. TR-0200 (4230-46)-3, November 2017

Articles from Periodicals

J.U. Buncombe, “Infrared Navigation,” IEEE Trans. Aerosp. Electron. Syst., Vol. AES-5, pp. 351–378, September 1949.

Electronic Resources

S. Jones (1998, March 11). Networks (1st ed.) [Internet]. Available:

Electronic Mail

S. Golden (1997, January 9). Internet conversation [online]. Available e-mail: CONSERVE @ RPIECS Message: Receive NETWORK CONVERSATION


V. Melinya. (1997, August 1). Periodic Table of the Elements [Online]. Available Telnet: Directory: Library / Reference Files: Periodic Table of the Elements


J. P. Jones, “Devices with non-linear resonant circuits,” US Patent No. 3,624,125, May 11, 1997


J. O. Ainsley, Narrowband analyzer, Ph.D. Dissertation, Department Electron. Engineer., Harvard. Univ., Cambridge, MA, 1998

Unpublished Documents

A. Harrison, personal communication, May 1995


IEEE Criteria for IE Class Electrical Systems, IEEE Standard 309, 1971

Drawing Up a List of References

General recommendations for drawing up a list of references include the following:

  • You should start the list of links on a new page at the end of the research paper and give it the title “References,” which should be placed on the left side or in the middle of the page;
  • The list is placed across the width of the page, separated from the title by a free line;
  • The list should be numbered. Numbers are placed on the left side in square brackets. The order in which they appear in the text is followed;
  • The numbers of sources are built in a separate column, located on the left side and separated from the links;
  • If it is not possible to confirm the authorship of the book or article, the date of publication or its authority, consider using a more authoritative source;
  • Check that the main details of the actual source are displayed correctly. And remember that you confirm that you have read the material when you cite it.

Methods of Placing Sources in the List 

When compiling bibliographic lists according to IEEE citation format, several methods are used to locate sources of information:

  • Alphabetical;
  • Chronological;
  • Systematic;
  • Numbering (location of the bibliographic descriptions in the order of references to them in the main text of the work);
  • Personal.

In alphabetical order, sources of information are grouped in strict alphabetical order by the names of the scholars and titles of books and articles. If the list includes sources of information in different languages, then the books and articles are arranged sequentially;

In a systematic (subject-thematic) arrangement, the material is grouped according to the most important problems of the topic, from general to specific. The alphabetical arrangement is used in the middle of the sections;

In chronological order, the descriptions in the list are arranged by year of publication, and in the middle of the year – in alphabetical order by the names of the authors and the titles of the documents. The chronological sequence makes it possible to trace the development of scientific research, separate issue, creative work of the writer, as well as a sequence of the publications of scientists, etc.;

The numbering order requires the location of the description of sources in the list in the order of references to them in the text of the work;

The personal principle involves the arrangement of materials that are devoted to any individual, and the list of sources of information is divided into two sections: his works and literature about his life and work. The chronological principle is most often used in the middle of the sections.

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