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I've got references that have math markup in their titles, and I'm having trouble getting bibtex to compile subscript output. For instance, a title including $\mathcal{A}_5$ comes out as though it were $\mathcal{A}\_5$. Anyone know how to fix this? What formatting would bibtex prefer?

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Your two things are the same. Please post an example of your BibTeX database. – Joseph Wright Sep 26 '10 at 16:06
You seem to have made a typo in your question, because I would have thought that having $\mathcal{A}_5$ come out as $\mathcal{A}_5$ would be exactly what you want, since they are the same. – Lev Bishop Sep 26 '10 at 16:12
Ack, there's supposed to be a backslash there, but the markup ate it. When I use that in a title, the bibtex output puts in a backslash, and compiles as A_5 visibly. – Charles Siegel Sep 26 '10 at 17:24
When you put the code in backticks (`), markdown parses your question the way I think you intended it. – Caramdir Sep 26 '10 at 17:38
What are you using to write your bib files? I used to use jabref and that went crazy sometimes adding in extra pairs of braces and all kinds of stuff... – Seamus Sep 27 '10 at 14:36

I don't see your behavior.

        title = {Math $a_x$},
        author = {Not me},


Compiling this with pdflatex, bibtex produces foo.bbl:


Not me.
\newblock Math $a_x$.


There is no added backslash.

Can you give a similar minimal example that exhibits the behavior you see?

The one thing I can think of to try without seeing your example is to surround your math material in braces {$a_x$} in the .bib.

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This is what I was thinking, too. B.t.w, you can embed auxiliary files in minimal examples with the filecontents environment. – Will Robertson Sep 27 '10 at 8:37

Define in the beginning of your LaTeX document:

\newcommand{\superscript}[1]{\ensuremath{^{\textrm{#1}}}} % superscript
\newcommand{\subscript}[1]{\ensuremath{_{\textrm{#1}}}}   % subscript

Then, as bibtex record you may define:

@article{Duce1995, title={Large CO\subscript{2} change}, author={Duce, J.K.}, journal={Environmental Science}, volume={10}, number={5}, pages={10--25}, year={1995} }

And then you can use this reference with {.}, \citet{.}. I prefer this approach because the usual math mode italicizes super- or subscripts.

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