I use plain bibliography style for my book. When I compile it, by default, I get the details including the title in my reference. like this:

H. J. C. Berendsen, J. P. M. Postma, W. F. van Gunsteren, a. Dinola, and J. R. Haak. Molecular dynamics with coupling to an external bath. J. Chem. Phys., 81:3685-3690,1984.

This is too long and I have more than 100 such references which makes the document too long. How can I force it to remove the title from this reference? something like this:

H. J. C. Berendsen, J. P. M. Postma, W. F. van Gunsteren, a. Dinola, and J. R. Haak. J. Chem. Phys., 81:3685-3690,1984.

Your answer will be greatly appreciated.

By the way, I still would like to use the plain bibliography style.

  • 3
    Although this could be done, I would not advise to do this: (a) It will make it harder for the reader to find the work you cited (as the title - something one can easily search for - is missing); (b) additionally, you take an opportunity to get an idea of what the source is about away from the reader. If you only do this for articles - as in your example - (a) will not be that much of an issue, but (b) still remains one.
    – moewe
    Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 15:24
  • 1
    I second @moewe's words: title-less references were fine in the ear of paper journals but nowadayas they are pretty much worthless, because people don't look up journal ToC's any longer; verybody just copy-pastes the title into google (or right-clicks). So if you omit the titles you are going to annoy the readers to no end. Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 16:06
  • 2
    These are good objections to omitting titles, and if it's up to us we would always include them. But if circumstances beyond our control require we remove the titles, we need to remove the titles!
    – Tyler
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


The following shows how to omit title information for @articles. While for @articles omitting the title can be justified, for @books it would by simply wrong (try to find "Knuth, Donald. Addison-Wesley: Reading, Mass., 1986" not knowing the title is "TeX: The Program" ["Knuth 1986" could well be "The METAFONTbook"]).

Though in principle I would not advise doing this*, it can be done, so here you go.

Locate plain.bst on your machine, use kpsewhich plain.bst if you cannot find it. Copy plain.bst to a location LaTeX can find it, the folder where your current .tex document resides is not too bad an option if you do not know where to put it. Rename the file to, say plainnt.bst (as in "plain: no title" - not to be confused with nmatbib's plainnat.bst).

Open plainnt.bst and navigate to FUNCTION {article}, you will find the following lines

format.authors "author" output.check
format.title "title" output.check

just delete the title part, so the whole FUNCTION {article} reads:

FUNCTION {article}
{ output.bibitem
  format.authors "author" output.check
  crossref missing$
    { journal emphasize "journal" output.check
      format.vol.num.pages output
      format.date "year" output.check
    { format.article.crossref output.nonnull
      format.pages output
  note output

In your document you now use \bibliographystyle{plainnt} instead of \bibliographystyle{plain}.

The MWE with plainnt.bst as above


  author  = {H. J. C. Berendsen and J. P. M. Postma and W. F. van Gunsteren and A. DiNola and J. R. Haak},
  title   = {Molecular dynamics with coupling to an external bath},
  journal = {The Journal of Chemical Physics},
  year    = {1984},
  volume  = {81},
  number  = {8},
  pages   = {3685-3690},
  url     = {http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/jcp/81/8/10.1063/1.448118},
  doi     = {10.1063/1.448118},




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*) Why not including the title is a not a very good idea.

First of all, there are quite a lot of bibliography style guides out there that require the title be included in the bibliography. I have seen (or at least I seem to remember to have) some journal citation styles that omit title information for articles.

My main points though are

  1. The reader will have to do more research to find the article: While normally finding the article is as easy as typing (or copy-and-pasting) the title into any search engine you like, here the reader will have to have the printed journal in front of them or will have to navigate to the journal website and leaf through the webpage to find the article.
  2. The title can give the reader a rough idea of what the article you just cited is about

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