In the following MWE, bibtex generates different output for \citep{}, depending on which citations are used and which are not. I assume that the problem is related to breaking ambiguity since the two authors with last name Li have different given names.

In the case of only using \citep{} once with Li2009 or Li2009a, I get a citation (Li et al., 2009), when using both, I get (Li, Handsaker, Wysoker, Fennell, Ruan, Homer, Marth, Abecasis & Durbin 2009) (Li, Yu, Li, Lam, Yiu, Kristiansen & Wang 2009).

Is there any way to make the citation less verbose? I realize that there has to be some way to discriminate different authors with the same last name, but is there another one? Like using the second author only?


    Publisher = {{Oxford Univ Press}},
    author = {Li, Heng and Handsaker, Bob and Wysoker, Alec and Fennell, Tim and Ruan, Jue and Homer, Nils and Marth, Gabor and Abecasis, Goncalo and Durbin, Richard},
    title = {{The sequence alignment/map format and SAMtools}},
    journal = {{Bioinformatics}},
    volume = {25},
    number = {16},
    pages = {2078-2079},
    year = {2009}

    Publisher = {{Oxford Univ Press}},
    author = {Li, Ruiqiang and Yu, Chang and Li, Yingrui and Lam, Tak-Wah and Yiu, Siu-Ming and Kristiansen, Karsten and Wang, Jun},
    title = {{SOAP2: an improved ultrafast tool for short read alignment}},
    journal = {{Bioinformatics}},
    volume = {25},
    number = {15},
    pages = {1966-1967},
    year = {2009}




\bibliography{\jobname} % no file ending necessary

  • 2
    Not a solution but a suggestion: biblatex doesn't have this problem. Simply import the package with option style=authoryear', add \addbibresource{\jobname.bib}` to the preamble, change your \citep commands to \parencite, add \printbibliography at the end, and Bob's your uncle. I don't know the bibliographystyle agsm, so you'd have to find an equivalent for that. – user10274 Aug 14 '14 at 8:37
  • My impression is that agsm.bst doesn't allow short citations. – egreg Aug 14 '14 at 9:56

The disambiguation of multiple publications of the same author's last name in the same year is handled by the bibliography style.

Try \bibliographystyle{APA} to see the difference.

If you are required to take agsm then there might be a way to edit the respective .bst file, but thats beyond my skills :)

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