I am writing a scientific article and plan to submit it to a Springer journal. Unfortunately, Springer's LaTeX support is not very satisfying. You are forced to use Springer's LaTeX class svjour3 as well as one of their bibliography styles (both can be downloaded here).

Currently I am struggeling with the sorting in the bibliography as I want to sort by appearance, hence the first citation in the article should be cited with [1]. This works well with the bibliographystyle unsrtnat, but doesn't work with spmpsci, which I must use for the journal. Here is a MWE:


This citation~\cite{Smith2009} should be named \emph{1}, while this one here~\cite{Fisher2013} should be numbered \emph{2}. How can we resort by appearance?



With the bibliography file references.bib:

author = {Michael Fisher},
journal = {Fisher journal},
pages = {1--10},
title = {The one title},
volume = {12},
number = {12},
year = {2013}

author = {John Smith},
journal = {Smith journal},
pages = {11--20},
title = {The other title},
volume = {13},
number = {1},
year = {2009}

Thanks in advance.

  • I suppose one could edit a copy of the file spmpsci.bst to disable the alphabetical sorting of the entries. However, given that you're evidently preparing your paper for a submission to a Springer journal that requires you to use spmpsci.bst, I think it would be a really bad idea to edit (a copy of) that file -- unless, of course, you've been given explicit permission and encouragement to modify the style file.
    – Mico
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 9:03

2 Answers 2


I was asking Springer's support and they answered that I shall ignore the problem and they will manage to sort the references correctly upon acceptance.


Go to this file:


Search for SORT (Case sensitive search)

There should be one instance with "SORT" (all caps). Currently, it's in line 1463. Delete this line or comment it out. Clear cache. Recompile. Voila...

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