Some journals, such as Phys. Rev. B., use unusual page numbering conventions, such as 081401-1–081401-4. (Depending on the way this gets rendered by your computer, you may not be able to discern that the center dash is an en-dash and the others are hyphens, however it's clear to see the difference in my compiled document)

This poses a problem as BibTeX appears to turn all of my hyphens into en-dashes. Wrapping the pages field in double curly braces doesn't seem to do anything. How can I get BibTeX to respect this convention?

I am using the IEEE transactions bibstyle (ieeetr)

  • Which .bst file do you use?
    – Joseph Wright
    Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 8:32
  • ieeetr - amended my question, apologies. Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 8:36

2 Answers 2


The BibTeX stack language does not taken any notice of { and } apart from when doing case-changing (which is a built-in function). So instead you need to hide the hyphen some other way. One approach is to use a macro


  author  = "Other, A. N.",
  journal = "J. Irrep. Res.",
  title   = "Some things I did",
  pages   = "081401\hyphen 1--081401\hyphen4",
  year    = "2011"
  • 1
    It would be possible to rewrite the standard BibTeX n.dashify function to respect { ... } protection. However, that would be awkward and would require a customised .bst file. Modifying at the .bib end should make the solution more portable. (Most BibTeX styles use n.dashify.)
    – Joseph Wright
    Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 9:03
  • That works, thankyou very much for your time. For ease of reading I wrapped the page numbers in the \hyphen{} command you specified. Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 11:58
  • This does not work for bmc-mathphys.bst, 2014-07-24: I get 081401-10814014. (github.com/konstantinstadler/pymrio_article/blob/master/…). Do you happen to have an alternative solution?
    – bers
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 18:59

The standard way to cite such journals seems to be "081401" or "081401 (4 pages)". Many .BSTs will format this way if you include something like

eid = {081401},
numpages = {4},

You should still include the "pages" field for the benefit of those BSTs that do not understand EID (electronic identifier, which I believe was first introduced by APS).

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