I use natbib and the bibliography style aipauth4-1.bst. When I cite entries that have 3 authors, all three names appear in the text. It is the first time I see something like that, other bst styles do not do it. So it's not a natbib option I use. It shortens the list as "name et al." only when the authors are more than 3.

I also tried the \shortcites{key-list}, but it doesn't work. I believe that I could use a \defcitealias{key} but I would prefer something automatic.

As I like other features of the aipauth4-1.bst style, can anyone please tell me how I have to edit the .bst file in order to have normal citations and not three names? Or any other idea?

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    Thanks, that's what I wanted: I was not sure if it was the format.lab.names block. Now I will compare that block in aipauth4-1 with the one in some other style that produces (1 name + et al.) and I will (try to) fix it. I will post the result when I have one. I use a simple article document class. – dee Jun 16 '13 at 22:25
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    OK. Without understanding very well the details, I copied what is inside the FUNCTION {format.lab.names} block from a style that prints 2 names at most (namely the apsrev4-1.bst) and substituted the inner of the same block in aipauth4-1.bst. And I have what I wanted! – dee Jun 18 '13 at 8:03

While it is indeed the case that many authoryear-style citation systems truncate the list of authors or editors down to "FirstSurname et al." whenever the piece has more than two authors or editors, it's actually not that uncommon to encounter a style that truncates the list only if the piece being cited has more than three authors/editors. For instance, I used to work at an institution where the rule for citations was that if the piece had one, two, or three authors/editors, all authors' surnames had to included in the citation callout. If the piece had more than three authors, the rule was to render the citation callout as "FirstSurname and others". (Note: not "et al." but "and others"...)

Changing the truncation criterion from four-or-more authors to three-or-more authors will require modifying the function format.lab.names in the file aipauth4-1.bst. A reasonably straightforward way of applying such a modification is to find a style file that uses the more-than-two-to-etal truncation rule and to copy the contents of its format-lab-names function to a copy of aipauth4-1.bst. (Don't edit the file aipauth4-1.bst directly.)

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