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Suppose that I moved from BibTeX to biblatex. With BibTeX I just copied the content of .bbl file into final version of my paper before submitting it to a journal. What should I do at same stage having .bbl file produced by biblatex? It is of quite different format.

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7  
It's clearly high time that journal publishers were dragged kicking and screaming into the century of the fruitbat. –  naught101 Nov 14 '12 at 5:03
6  
Publishers, and their authors, regard LaTeX and related software as tools to use, rather than as programming projects. They will use what works best for them. Until biblatex has documentation suitable for ordinary authors and in-house typesetters, journals will not use it. –  Colin McLarty Sep 28 '13 at 18:35
    
Another caveat, right off the bat: biblatex is plain incompatible with REVTeX, which is the required style for most APS, AIP, OSA and AAS (physics) journals. –  episanty Dec 2 at 13:02

2 Answers 2

up vote 53 down vote accepted

it is also possible, but not so easy as with bibtex. When you finished your document write into the preamble after the already existing biblatex definition:

\documentclass{...}
...
\usepackage[style=numeric-verb]{biblatex}% change it for your needs 
\bibliography{examples}
%-------------- start insert modified commands ------------------
\makeatletter
\def\blx@bblfile@biber{%
  \blx@secinit
  \begingroup
  \blx@bblstart
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
%
%% copy here the contents of the created bbl file
%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
  \blx@bblend
  \endgroup
  \csnumgdef{blx@labelnumber@\the\c@refsection}{0}}
\makeatother
%-------------- end insert modified commands ------------------
...
\begin{document}
...
\printbibliography
\end{document}

the only difference is that \printbibliography now takes the contents of the bib not from the external file but from the inserted bbl contents.

If you run bibtex instead of biber (btw: biber is the better choice) then you have to use it in this way:

\usepackage[...,backend=bibtex]{biblatex}
....
\def\blx@bblfile@bibtex{% instead of ...\blx@bblfile@@biber
  \blx@secinit
  \begingroup
  \blx@bblstart
    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
    %
    %% copy here the contents of the created bbl file
    %
    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
  \blx@bblend
  \endgroup
  \csnumgdef{blx@labelnumber@\the\c@refsection}{0}%
  \iftoggle{blx@reencode}{\blx@reencode}{}}

Pay attention that you do not insert the last line of the bblfile which is the command \endinput. This one should be deleted or commented with a preceding %.

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2  
Is there any reason this wouldn't be acceptable by a journal? If not, the "accepted" answer is a bit misleading.. –  naught101 Apr 30 '12 at 1:31
2  
@naught101 See my edit concerning 'other' support. There is no guarantee that biblatex, the necessary support packages or indeed the e-TeX extensions will be available. –  Joseph Wright Jul 12 '12 at 13:24
2  
@JosephWright: how depressing. I know technology doesn't always keep up with science, but it'd be nice to think science could keep up with technology... –  naught101 Jul 13 '12 at 2:25
1  
@Herbert When trying out your solution I keep getting the message ./file.tex:142: Use of \blx@bbl@verbadd@i doesn't match its definition \blx@bblfile@biber ...2004} \verb {eprint} \verb cond-mat/0407066 \endverb \... l.142 \begin{document} What's wrong? –  groovybaby Jul 26 '12 at 2:21
6  
To answer my own comment, some journals (Looking at you, AGU) expressly forbid the usage of \def outside their provided style files: % PLEASE DO NOT USE YOUR OWN MACROS % DO NOT USE \newcommand, \renewcommand, or \def.. So even this solution does not work. Horrible. –  naught101 Nov 14 '12 at 4:51

For journal submission, I'm afraid my answer would be 'do not use biblatex'. The bibliography is generated at the LaTeX end by biblatex, and so it is not possible to 'paste in the formatted result'. Most journals want you to either do this or use their own BibTeX style, so biblatex is a bad choice. (This is a shame, but unless/until the journals update their workflows that is how it is.)


One point to note in particular is that you cannot be sure of the package or engine availability on journal systems. For example, the American Chemical Society do not have the e-TeX extensions available on their servers (at the time of writing). These were finalised in 1999, so the time lag is significant. biblatex requires e-TeX, so it would be impossible to use if for a submission to the ACS.


A second area to bear in mind is journal work flows. Depending on the journal, your LaTeX source may be converted into some other format for publishing. To do that, the publisher may use additional data written to the .bbl file (for example the data repeated in an XML 'comment') or some form of .bbl parser to convert the bibliography. That will not work with biblatex unless they have set up their workflow to deal with it.

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1  
This seems like a bad mark against bibLatex... having spent ages digging around in the .cfg to get the format correct for a journal it's very annoying to have to go back to bibtex. Thanks for the post! –  user16540 Jul 12 '12 at 10:49
2  
@Ellen Please don't post comments in the answers section. Also it's not biblatex' fault but rather the journals are reluctant to update their styles such that they're compatible with the typesetting TeXnology. –  percusse Jul 12 '12 at 10:53
6  
sadly for users, this is correct on both counts -- dependence by journal publishers on established production systems (which change only glacially), and their support of biblatex-specific styles. bibtex has been problematic for ams for a long time, and an alternative, amsrefs, was first distributed in 2001. (biblatex first appeared in about 2006.) unfortunately, amsrefs isn't supported by (most?) other journal publishers, so there's no common format in which to build a personal database. –  barbara beeton Jul 12 '12 at 14:02
2  
I would add to @barbarabeeton's comment a particular example where biblatex is inconsistent with journal publishers. All APS and AIP journals (journals on physics) requires for a submitted article to be compiled with RevTeX class. RevTeX loads natbib package which is inconsistent with biblatex. –  Igor Kotelnikov Jan 14 at 3:25
    
@JosephWright lack of the e-tex extensions could signify that they (still) use y&y tex (certainly i worked with some canadian journals which did). y&y tex used to be a very good choice for a publisher: very robust implementation, very reactive help desk, but (despite my best efforts at persuasion) y&y never did get e-tex. it's moot now, since y&y went out of business; there's an active project resurrecting the distribution, but i don't know about its e-tex . –  wasteofspace Sep 5 at 9:52

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