The references in my document should be formatted according to the standards which are implemented in gost package and in biblatex-gost.

There is only one feature of biblatex-gost which I need and which seems to be missing in plain bibtex gost. I need a control on the number of author names left before et al is used. In biblatex-gost this is controlled by maxnames = 3 (4,5, whatever). I could not find such option for the gost package (which I would prefer to use due to compatibility issues). Is there a way to control this number?

One solution is possible: to copy the .bst file I use and patch it using the solution from here, which also means potential compatibility problems. Is there more direct solution?

  • You refer to both bibtex- and biblatex-based methods. Which be are you interested in?
    – Mico
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 6:58
  • @Mico As I mentioned in my question, I know biblatex-based solution. I would love to reproduce it using plain bibtex if this is possible. Or make sure that there is no simple way.
    – Misha
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 7:39
  • I can see ten [10!] separate gost*.bst files. Is there one file in particular you're interested in?
    – Mico
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 17:14
  • @Mico ugost2008n is best for me
    – Misha
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


You wrote

One solution is possible: to copy the .bst file I use and patch it ... which also means potential compatibility problems. Is there more direct solution?

I can't see which "potential compatibility problems" you might encounter if you modify a copy of an existing bst (bibliography style) file properly.

I take it that you're mostly interested in the ugost2008n bibliography style and that the main change you want to implement is to modify the truncation criterion for how many authors are shown in the formatted bibliographic entries. The default criterion is 4, meaning that if an entry has 4 or fewer authors (or editors), all authors are shown, whereas if the entry has 5 or more authors (or editors), only the first 3 names plus "et al" get displayed.

To change the cut-off criterion to, say, 5, I suggest you proceed as follows:

  • Find the file ugost2008n.bst in your TeX distribution and make a copy of this file. Name the copy ugost2008n5.bst.

  • Find the function format.names, which starts on line 767 of my copy of the file. (I have version 1.2d of the file, dated 2016/02/18.) The first few lines of this function should look as follows:

    FUNCTION {format.names}
      's :=
      #1 'nameptr :=
      s num.names$ 'numnames :=
      numnames 'namesleft :=
        { namesleft #0 > }
        { s nameptr
          "{vv~}{ll}{~jj}{~ff}" format.name$ 't :=
          nameptr #1 >
            { nameptr #4 =
              numnames #4 > and
                { "others" 't :=
                  #1 'namesleft := }
  • To change the truncation number from 4 to 5, simply change the two instances of #4 to #5.

  • Save the file ugost2008n5.bst either in the directory where your main tex file is located or in a directory that's searched by BibTeX. If you choose the latter method, be sure to update the filename database of your TeX distribution suitably.

  • Start using the newly-modified bibliography style by changing the instruction




    Be sure to rerun LaTeX, BibTeX, and LaTeX twice more to fully propagate all changes.

Happy BibTeXing!

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