Is there a standard way of indicating co-first authorships in a BibTeX entry?

Equal-contribution is usually indicated by * (or some other symbol) next to the author names in the paper, but it is a rather recent phenomenon as I understand it.

I never actually saw it indicated in the reference sections when cited, but it is a valuable meta-data that might be useful for the future. Hence, I want to put it in the BibTeX meta data. I can imagine a new bibliography format showing co-first authors in the reference (but this is not likely to happen though).

  • How is it shown otherwise? – jon Sep 16 '13 at 3:33
  • @jon I updated the question. – Memming Sep 16 '13 at 3:44
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    I'd be a bit wary about 'usually' here. In my area (chemistry) a star (or several stars) indicates the 'author to whom correspondence should be addressed', i.e. the lead author(s). – Joseph Wright Sep 16 '13 at 5:53
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    biblatex offers the field authortype, one might be able to expand this to the host of possibilities one has with editor[a|b|c] and editor[a|b|c]type. – moewe Sep 16 '13 at 17:37
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    More importantly (in my field), shared first author papers are referred to differently: Instead of referencing a paper as “Foo et al.”, it should be referenced as “Foo, Bar et al.”. – Konrad Rudolph Sep 22 '14 at 14:05

There is no 'standard' way of indicating this information in a .bib file. Moreover, it probably would be difficult to include it in the author field without breaking standard styles/sorting/... As such, if adding this information I would use a custom field (the BibTeX format allows for this as all non-recognised fields are ignored).


Quick solution that may work for you: keep things together with parentheses.

author={{Foo, Bar} and third_author and fourth_author},
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    How do you propose to tell BibTeX about the first names of the authors? – user10274 Jun 22 '15 at 1:16

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