IEEE Reference Page | Example & Format

The IEEE reference page (sometimes called the IEEE bibliography) appears at the end of your paper. It’s where you list full information about all the sources you’ve cited, numbered to match your IEEE in-text citations, so that the reader can find and consult them.

Follow these guidelines to format the reference page:

  • Write the heading ‘References’ in bold at the top, either left-aligned or centred.
  • Write the reference numbers down the left side, in square brackets.
  • Indent the references themselves consistently to separate them from the numbers.
  • Single-space the references, with a normal paragraph break in between them.
Note
If you need to write your whole paper in IEEE format (rather than just following IEEE citation format), then there are some additional requirements. You need to follow this format to submit to IEEE publications. You can find a full template in our article on IEEE paper format.

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Example of an IEEE reference page

Formatting the reference page

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Example references for common source types

IEEE references follow specific formatting guidelines in order to provide full information on the source in a clear and consistent way. This generally consists of the author’s name, the title of the source, the publication date, and information about where it was published.

Examples are shown below for common source types.

IEEE book citation

IEEE book citation format Author initials. Last name, Book Title. City (and state if in US), Country: Publisher, Year.
IEEE reference J. P. Hailman, Coding and Redundancy: Man-Made and Animal-Evolved Signals. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2008.

IEEE journal article citation

IEEE journal article citation format Author initials. Last name, “Article title,” Journal Name, vol. Volume, no. Number, pp. Page range, Month Year, DOI.
IEEE reference J. Kou, “Estimating the number of clusters via the GUD statistic,” J. Comput. Graph. Statist., vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 403–417, Jun. 2014, doi: 10.1080/10618600.2013.778778.

IEEE website citation

IEEE website citation format Author initials. Last name. “Page title.” Website Name. URL (accessed Month Day, Year).
IEEE reference B. Fung. “Amazon offers concessions to resolve EU antitrust probes.” CNN.com. https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/14/tech/amazon-concessions-eu-antitrust/index.html (accessed Jul. 18, 2022).

Numbering and ordering the reference list

In IEEE citation format, your references are numbered to match the in-text citations that point the reader towards them. In-text citations and references are both numbered in the order they were cited in the text.

If you cite the same source repeatedly in your paper, it’s numbered based on the first time it was cited and appears only once on the reference page. To cite different parts of a source, use a different page number (or other locator) in each in-text citation. Don’t create duplicate references.

As you edit your paper, always double-check that the numbering of in-text citations still matches that on the reference page, or your citations will point to the wrong references.

General formatting guidelines for IEEE references

While many details of your IEEE references vary based on the type of source you’re citing, there are some general rules about:

Authors

Give the initials of the author’s first name and (if listed) middle name, and write their last name in full. Each initial is followed by a period and a space.

For a source with one to six authors, list all of them, separated by commas and (before the final one) the word ‘and.’ Write the names in the order they’re listed in the source. If there are seven or more, list the first author followed by ‘et al.’ (italicised).

1 author A. Bleda, …
2 authors A. Bleda and M. L. Reyna, …
3–6 authors A. Bleda, M. L. Reyna, J. Gabriel-Rodriguez, T. Primula, and Y. Vivianus, …
7+ authors A. Bleda et al., …

Titles

Titles are formatted in two basic ways in IEEE references, depending on whether it’s the title of something that stands on its own, or the title of something that’s part of a larger publication:

  • Titles of standalone sources and containers (e.g., books, journals) are written in italics, with title case capitalisation (capitalising the first letter of all important words).
  • Titles of sources contained in a larger publication (e.g., chapters in a book, journal articles) are enclosed in quotation marks, with only the first word (and any proper nouns) capitalised.
Example: Formatting of titles in an IEEE reference
M. Asch and S. M. Mefire, “Numerical localization of electromagnetic imperfections from a perturbation formula in three dimensions,” J. Comput. Math., vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 149–195, Mar. 2008.

Abbreviations

To keep references concise, IEEE recommends abbreviating the names of publishers, journals, universities, companies, conferences, and months (as well as using initials for authors’ names, as described above).

Months are all abbreviated to the first three letters, followed by a period (e.g., ‘Jun.’; but no period after May, since it’s already three letters long).

This table lists abbreviations for some other common words. A more comprehensive table can be accessed through the button below. Note that these words are only abbreviated in the contexts mentioned above, not in source titles.

Standard IEEE abbreviations
American Amer. Mathematical / mathematics Math.
Computational / computer(s) / computing Comp. Proceedings Proc.
Conference Conf. Report Rep.
Department Dept. Research Res.
Electrical Elect. Science Sci.
Electronic Electron. Statistics Statist.
Engineering Eng. Technical Tech.
Information Inf. Technology Technol.
Journal J. Telecommunications Telecommun.
Machine Mach. University Univ.

View full table

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Frequently asked questions about IEEE reference page

How do I format the IEEE reference page?

The IEEE reference page consists of a list of references numbered in the order they were cited in the text. The title ‘References’ appears in bold at the top, either left-aligned or centered.

The numbers appear in square brackets on the left-hand side of the page. The reference entries are indented consistently to separate them from the numbers. Entries are single-spaced, with a normal paragraph break between them.

When should I use ‘et al.’ in IEEE citation format?

In IEEE citation format, you should list the names of up to six authors in a reference on your IEEE reference page. If the source has seven or more authors, just list the first author’s name followed by ‘et al.’ (in italics): ‘F. Gupta et al., …’

In the main text, if you mention a source with three or more authors, you should use ‘et al.’: ‘Fowler et al. [11] argue that …’

Note that you’re not required to mention author names at all in the text though – just the IEEE in-text citation number is enough, in which case ‘et al.’ isn’t needed: ‘[11] argues that …’

How do I cite the same source repeatedly in IEEE citation format?

If you cite the same source more than once in your writing, use the same number for all of the IEEE in-text citations for that source, and only include it on the IEEE reference page once. The source is numbered based on the first time you cite it.

For example, the fourth source you cite in your paper is numbered [4]. If you cite it again later, you still cite it as [4]. You can cite different parts of the source each time by adding page numbers [4, p. 15].

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes for Scribbr about his specialist topics: grammar, linguistics, citations, and plagiarism. In his spare time, he reads a lot of books.