I am writing my dissertation and some citations are really wired. For example, some paper citations are shown as T.Yang & Pan (2013) and T.Yang & Pan (2011) (those are two different papers by the same authors); Also most of the citations with more than two authors are shown as Tang et al. (1999) (this paper has four authors) but some of them show the first two authors' name as Goldfarb, Borror, et al. (2004) (This paper has four authors).

So I need to just show the last name of the authors as Yang & Pan (2013) even they might be different papers(required by school format) and only the first author's last name as Goldfarb et al. (2004) if there are more than two authors.

I have checked some questions here and seems like this one similar question. However, I have download the .bst file from APA website but didn't find the function mentioned in the solution and also not sure how to replace the .bst file. (I use WinEdit)/

Hope someone can give me some help on my question! Thanks!

My bibtex file as

  title={Three-dimensional variance dispersion graphs for mixture-process experiments},
  author={Heidi B. Goldfarb and Connie M. Borror and Douglas C. Montgomery and Christine M. Anderson-Cook},
  journal={Journal of Quality Technology},
  publisher={American Society for Quality}

AUTHOR={Tao Yang and Rong Pan},
title={A Novel Approach to Optimal {ALT} Planning with Interval Censoring},
journal={Reliability, IEEE Transaction on,},
volume={to appear on June Issue},
  number =       {},
  pages =        {},
  month =        {},
  note =         {},
  abstract =     {},
  keywords =     {},
  source =       {},

And my tex file as



\def\listofsymbols{\input{memoir/symbols} \clearpage}
\def\addsymbol #1: #2#3{$#1$ \> \parbox{5.45in}{#2 \dotfill \pageref{#3}}\\}

Reliability is defined as the ability of a system or component to perform its required functions under stated conditions for a specified period of time. An easier definition is: reliability is the quality over time (\citet{GBMA2004}). Nowadays, with the rapid development. And \citet{YP2013} ....
 \protect\noindent APPENDIX\protect\par

  • 3
    Your code contains some non-standard packages, so I can't test everything, but removing those I get the expected behaviour. Do you by any chance have a longer bibliography that contains two different authors Yang? It might be the initial is being added to distinguish between them. Nov 13, 2013 at 7:48
  • The apacite.bst in the TeXLive distribution contains the function mentioned in the other question (and that version has been updated in 2013 (at least the copyright notice). Don't know what file you have download fro APA site.
    – Guido
    Nov 13, 2013 at 8:23
  • 1
    @AndrewSwann You are right. there is actually another author having the same last name Yang but different first name and will be displayed as M.Yang.
    – ASU_TY
    Nov 13, 2013 at 23:01
  • 3
    So what behaviour would you like? The initials are necessary to uniquely identify the reference, and therefore help the reader. I would not encourage removing them. Nov 14, 2013 at 10:43

2 Answers 2


You only show part of your bibtex file, but by any chance do you have two entries such as:

  author = {Tao Yang and Rong Pan},
  author = {Yang and ...},

In other words does the name sometimes appear with with and without the first name, or sometimes with the full name and sometimes with just the initial? Editing you .bib file to make sure the names are all abbreviated consistently sometimes helps with that.


I wasn't sure how to do this strictly in LaTeX, but I wrote a Python program that would do this for you. It finds and removes any and all instances of white space followed by a single character and then a period. It also corrects for any comma duplication errors that could result.

Python Program (Make sure this and the file that's being modified are in the same folder)

Test File (Your examples and a couple I pulled off a paper I wrote recently)

Test With Fixes (The end results)

Hopefully this kind of thing isn't against Tex rules, and if rather than downloading you would like to have the straight hardcode posted here I can do that in a comment. Cheers!

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