How to know which citation style is applied, if googling its characteristics does not reveal the name?

In specific, do you know what is the name of this citation style?

Merlis, Timothy M., and Tapio Schneider, “Atmospheric dynamics of Earth-like tidally locked aquaplanets,” Jounal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 2 (December 2010); DOI:10.3894/JAMES.2010.2.13.

  • Authors: roman
  • Title: roman in quotation marks, with ending comma inside the marks
  • Journal: italics, with issue date in roman

The style is taken from the book What If? from Randal Munroe. I'm translating it so would like to know its style to know how to put the translation of the reference properly.

  • 2
    This is quite a common format. You need to dig much deeper if you're trying to tie it to a specific journal (or family of journals). Ending the title with a comma is likely to narrow it down quite a bit, the comma after the authors' names less so. The mopnth and year in brackets followed by a semicolon should be a good clue when you get close.
    – Chris H
    Apr 12, 2017 at 8:42
  • 3
    Why does it matter? If you're writing for a specific journal, they'll tell you what citation style to use. Apr 12, 2017 at 11:37
  • 1
    As @david-richerby mentioned, why does it matter? In addition: Where did you find the citation, and to what are you going to apply it?
    – MrGumble
    Apr 12, 2017 at 12:40
  • @MrGumble The style is taken from the book What If? from Randal Munroe. I'm translating it so would like to know its style to know how to put the translation of the reference properly.
    – Ooker
    Apr 14, 2017 at 12:00
  • Why not just verbatim copy the bibliography then? I would not expect it to change due to translation. Secondly, the citation styles only work if you have saved all references in a database such as Mendeley, Zotero, or EndNote. And these should all allow you to give a custom citation style, one that you could base on a similar style found in the links the other have mentioned.
    – MrGumble
    Apr 14, 2017 at 12:30

2 Answers 2


I don't know an easier way than including the reference in http://www.citethisforme.com and then changing the reference style to see, if I can find a style equal to the one I'm looking for. Unfortunately, the amount of reference styles is very large.

  • I just I just stumbled over this python programm that classifies citations. It even works for command linies. So far, only 18 citation styles are implemented but that's a good start. Mar 2, 2020 at 12:26

http://editor.citationstyles.org/searchByExample/ has a decently-sized database that lets you search for a citation style by typing and formatting an example, which can be handy (if a bit of a pain sometimes).

Edit: For your example, it suggests Bioarcheology International is the most similar, followed by Springer Humanities (author-date).

Edit again: No, I did it wrong, it's more like Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition (full note), although that's still not perfect.

  • Ugh, I cannot find any example that has title in quotation marks. The style you linked doesn't have that feature too.
    – Ooker
    Apr 12, 2017 at 11:20
  • @Ooker, you're right, I think I entered it slightly wrong. I'm now getting Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition (full note), which looks a fair bit more like your example, but still isn't perfect. I'll edit my answer. Apr 12, 2017 at 11:24
  • This is a great tool. Seems to be tricky but might get better over time. Thanks for this link! Apr 12, 2017 at 12:51
  • You definitely need the in-text-citation to make it work. @Ooker Could you provide the in-text-citation style? Apr 12, 2017 at 13:03
  • @FuzzyLeapfrog unfortunately, the style comes from a pop science book, so there's no in text citation
    – Ooker
    Apr 14, 2017 at 12:01

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