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Suppose I want to cite two papers, which are listed in my reference list like:

Adams, J., L. Hill, J. Jones, K. Lamar, and T. Wang (2015) ....

and

Adams, J., L. Hill, J. Jones, K. Lamar, A. Walker, and T. Wang (2015) ....

I am using the following citing style:

\usepackage[style=authoryear-comp,natbib,maxcitenames=2,maxbibnames=10,sortcites=False,uniquelist=minyear,dashed=false,backend=biber]{biblatex}

Usually, I thus have something with "Adams et. al (2015)" when I'm in-text citing. However, for this example, one cannot distinguish by the year and A. Walker did not participate at the first work. Consequently, all author names are cited within the text despite maxcitenames=2. Is this the correct way to cite it in-text? It appears a little bit inconsistent to me when suddenly 6 authors are cited.

  • Welcome to TeX.SX! Whether this is "the correct way to cite" is certainly a matter of personal (or institutional) preference: It depends on the specific reference style you want/need to follow. I think it does make sense, but that is just my personal opinion. You can turn off the behaviour if you don't like it with uniquelist=false instead of uniquelist=minyear which as you say cannot work here because of the same year. (See Biblatex: Have only one author in citation — multiple articles with same first author, different year for example.) – moewe Nov 29 '15 at 10:24
  • 1
    BTW with issues such as this it is always a good idea to provide an MWE. While the general question might be clear for people reading this, reproducing the exact behaviour you are experiencing can be an arduous task (albeit not a very complicated one). If we have something to test we can make sure our suggestions do exactly what you would expect with your code. – moewe Nov 29 '15 at 10:29
  • I am interested in your opinion about the following option: denoting it by "Adams et al. (2015a)" and "Adams et al. (2015b)". Or do you think this suggests that the group of authors are exactly the same? – Stats_L Nov 29 '15 at 10:56
2

With your set-up (maxcitenames=2, uniquelist=minyear) I get

Adams, Hill, Jones, Lamar and Wang, 2015

Adams, Hill, Jones, Lamar, Walker et al., 2015

for the dummy entries (and those entries only!)

@article{adams1,
  author       = {Adams, J. and L. Hill and J. Jones and K. Lamar and T. Wang},
  title        = {A Nice Title},
  year         = {2015},
  journaltitle = {Journal of Articles},
  volume       = {10},
}
@article{adams2,
  author       = {Adams, J. and L. Hill and J. Jones and K. Lamar and A. Walker and T. Wang},
  title        = {Another Nice Title},
  year         = {2015},
  journaltitle = {Journal of Articles},
  volume       = {11},
}

this is clearly unambiguous and does not suggest the two articles were written by the same group of people. It might be a bit long for a citation label though, one could feel.


With uniquelist=false you get

Adams et al., 2015b

Adams et al., 2015a

which is compact, but somehow disguises the fact that the articles were written by different authors.


MWE

\documentclass[11pt, a4paper]{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[british]{babel}
\usepackage{csquotes}
\usepackage[style=authoryear-comp, natbib, maxcitenames=2, maxbibnames=999,
            uniquelist=false, dashed=false, backend=biber]{biblatex}

\begin{filecontents}{\jobname.bib}
@article{adams1,
  author       = {Adams, J. and L. Hill and J. Jones and K. Lamar and T. Wang},
  title        = {A Nice Title},
  year         = {2015},
  journaltitle = {Journal of Articles},
  volume       = {10},
}
@article{adams2,
  author       = {Adams, J. and L. Hill and J. Jones and K. Lamar and A. Walker and T. Wang},
  title        = {Another Nice Title},
  year         = {2015},
  journaltitle = {Journal of Articles},
  volume       = {11},
}
\end{filecontents}
\addbibresource{\jobname.bib}

\begin{document}
\cite{adams1}

\cite{adams2}

\printbibliography
\end{document}

Which look you go for in the end should ultimately depend on the style you need to follow or what you find more æsthetically pleasing.

While the short citation might make it look like the articles were written by the same set (or tuple) of authors at first, I think a reader can be expected to look at the full bibliography at the end to find out that this wasn't the case (she will have to refer to the bibliography to get the full details, anyway).

The long citations can break the flow of the text and add little extra information compared to the length it adds. You need to consider how important that added information is for you.

That said, a deeper discussion of the merits and demerits of the two approaches is probably better suited to Academia.SE or Writers.SE.

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