I have been unable to find the solution to my problem in other questions, so here is the problem. 2 of my citations have 4 authors listed rather than having author et al. despite being the same format as other references in my .bib file. Here is my .bib entry

author = {Middendorf, B. and Martirena, J.F. and Gehrke, M. and Day, R.L.},
title = {Sulphate resistance of metakaolin mortar},
journal = {Cement and Concrete Research},
year = {1998},
pages = {83-92},

My citation is \citet{midmar05}

I have used the exact same format for another reference which appears with author et al. whereas this lists all 4 authors. Any ideas?

EDIT - working and non working examples and link to PDF:

    @inproceedings{henvan08 ,
language = {English},
copyright = {Compilation and indexing terms, Copyright 2012 Elsevier Inc.},
copyright = {Compendex},
title = {Assessing workability of mortar by means of rheological parameters       and desorptivity},
journal = {Structural Analysis of Historic Construction: Preserving Safety and Significance - Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Structural    Analysis of Historic Construction, SAHC08},
author = {Hendrickx, R. and Van Balen, K. and Van Gemert, D.},
volume = {2},
year = {2008},
pages = {973 - 979},

title = {Workability of mortars with building lime: assessment by a panel of masons versus lab testing},
booktitle = {International Brick and Block Masonry Conference},
author = {Hendrickx, R. and Minet, J. and Van Balen, K. and Van Gemert, D.},
year = {2008},

author    = {Hendrickx, R. and Van Balen, K. and Van Gemert, D.},
title     = {Yield stress measurement of mortar using geotechnical tehniques},
booktitle = {3rd International RILEM symposium on rheology of cement suspensions such as fresh concrete},
year      = {2009},


    @inproceedings{abe02 ,
language = {English},
copyright = {Compilation and indexing terms, Copyright 2012 Elsevier Inc.},
copyright = {Compendex},
title = {Investigation of the rheology and microstructure of hydrated lime and sand for mortars},
journal = {ASTM Special Technical Publication},
author = {Abell, Anne B. and Nichols, John M.},
number = {1432},
year = {2002},
pages = {23 - 36},
issn = {00660558},
address = {Salt Lake City, UT, United states},


  • 1
    The entry appears to have two author fields. What happens if you eliminate one of the two fields?
    – Mico
    Mar 4, 2016 at 17:22
  • Please tell us which bibliography style you use.
    – Mico
    Mar 4, 2016 at 18:49
  • Apologies, the additional author field was just a mistake in typing on to here. I am using dcu bibliography style. Mar 7, 2016 at 11:24
  • Potential duplicate of Citation in “dcu” bibliography style sometimes return “et al” other times full author list. Note that the answer given to that query has no upvotes so far and hasn't been accepted either. Hence, the system currently won't let me vote officially to close the present query as a duplicate of other query. Someone wanna provide an upvote to that answer, so that we can start the process of closing the present query?
    – Mico
    Feb 8, 2017 at 21:14

1 Answer 1


To get the "et. al.", I manually use

author={A. Andreas and others}

the others automatically adds "et. al.". I have to define my own threshold, of course: anything above 3 authors and I use others.

  • Welcome to TeX.SE. While this approach will indeed succeed in generating a truncated citation call-out, it will also generate truncated list of authors for the formatted bibliographic entry. In many (most?) fields, such a setting is not acceptable; instead, all authors (or at least the first five or six authors) must be listed.
    – Mico
    Mar 4, 2016 at 17:18
  • Thank you! This is my first time trying to post questions and answers on TeX.SE, even though I have been following the site for a long time with all my LaTeX/MATLAB/Mathematica/C/C++/younameit problems. I had seen people post comments but I wasn't sure how to do it until I saw yours first!
    – smike
    Mar 4, 2016 at 17:21
  • Couldn't add more in my previous comment. I am still learning by, trial and error, the different methods in LaTeX. In the field I work in, usually the first name is truncated by default in almost every journal I have seen. I didn't know others did the truncation as well. Thank you for sharing this interesting information!
    – smike
    Mar 4, 2016 at 17:28

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