I'm interested in doing a little casual survey. As many of us have been through undergraduate training where citation rules are expected to be applied exactly, and sometimes even marked as if they were mathematical equations, I'm wondering if all that learning is even worth it. Does anybody know of any major or middle-level journals which actually demand any of the major citation systems to be applied, or do all such journals have in-house systems?

If most journals do demand strict adherence to any of the style manuals then it follows that there is good reason to teach such systems, but if none or few do, then these systems should not be taught as they are but adapted to what is actually practiced.

  • 1
    At least in biology, people would usually use a software (such as endnote) to manage citations. The same software would link to the program used for writing the text (e.g.: word). The format of the citation can be changed at any time; Rather than going with some general rules and implementing them, one would use the rules as specified by the target journal (or select the corresponding journal within the citation software - which will most likely already have a template for your journal of interest)
    – tsttst
    Dec 16, 2017 at 1:02
  • And so what about the issue of discrepancies between endnote's particular style options, and the demands of different journals? Or do you mean that you can go in and make minor adjustments to suit the needed journal?
    – Ootagu
    Dec 16, 2017 at 1:26
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    Most likely there won't be any discrepancy for any middle-level or major journal as you can select the style of thousands of journals from within Endnote; Moreover those journals usually provide a template file on their webpage (which you may only need, if a journal is brand new); However, manual adjustments are possible at any time: youtube.com/watch?v=lbq-naXl8r4
    – tsttst
    Dec 16, 2017 at 1:41

1 Answer 1


I believe all the journals published by the APA request strict adherence to the APA style manual. Similiary, PMLA, one of the two journals published by the MLA, asks for submissions in MLA style. University of Chicago Press publishes a lot of journals, but the first one I found asks for submissions in Chicago Style.

My experience with APA journals is that they allow for fair amount of flexibility in the submission format. I doubt any journal will reject submissions that use italics instead of bold or a comma instead of a period. They will likely fix these issues during copy editing,

As for the comments on the questions that just use Endnote or BibTeX/Biblatex to handle it, the problem is that most of these style guides are not designed to be programmatically implemented. It took a lot of work to get biblatex to fully implement APA 6 and there is no BibTeX version that is fully compatible.

  • CSL is a recent programmatic solution that can be used with lots of bibliographical software packages, even BibLaTeX if parsed through pandoc. citationstyles.org
    – henning
    Dec 16, 2017 at 13:03
  • MLA 8 is simply impossible to do correctly with BibLaTeX as it stands with how it does container formats. It might be possible, but you'd have to have citations citing citations wherein the latter don't receive a separate cite and that'd be a lot of coding for a field that rarely uses that format ((La)TeX) Dec 17, 2017 at 7:25

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