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I am using an article with a long author list, like this:

author = {{H.Oumerachi and A.Kortenhaus and William Allsop and Maarten and 
  Groot and Roger Crouch and Han Vrijling and Hessel Voortman }}

natbib is supposed to use a long author list only the first time, and then use et al. However, I get a long author list every time.

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Welcome to TeX.sx! Please add a minimal working example (MWE) that illustrates your problem. –  Benedikt Bauer Oct 17 '12 at 14:06
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If you have two sets of braces, as shown, then you are saying that the list should not be processed at all (it's treated as a single name). –  Joseph Wright Oct 17 '12 at 15:41
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Besides the comment about the double brace, I'd also turn this into {Oumerachi, H. and ...} so BibTeX knows about the first and surnames. –  Marc van Dongen Oct 17 '12 at 21:27
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1 Answer

Remove the double braces and replace with a single brace; separate first names from family names:

author = {{H.Oumerachi and A.Kortenhaus and William Allsop and Maarten and  
  Groot and Roger Crouch and Han Vrijling and Hessel Voortman }},

author = {H. Oumerachi and A. Kortenhaus and William Allsop and Maarten  
 Groot and Roger Crouch and Han Vrijling and Hessel Voortman},

(An "and" seemed unnecessary.)

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I took the liberty of pointing out another weak point in the OP's input. –  egreg Oct 17 '12 at 20:06
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