I am using the natbib citation management package and the ieeetr bibliography style for my references. Everything works well apart from the quotation marks that are placed around the title fields of all entries. How can I remove these quotation marks? I saw a similar post for biblatex:

Remove quotes from inbook reference title with biblatex

I tried to do the same in the natbib.def file but it did not work. Could you please help me with this?

  • Dear Mico,Yes, that's right. I am modifying the ieeetr.bst file. – Eleni Christodoulou Dec 28 '16 at 10:40

The bibliography style -- here: ieetr-- and not the chosen citation management package (such as natbib) determines virtually all aspects of how bibliographic entries, including the placement of quotation marks around the contents of title fields, are formatted by BibTeX.

You could proceed as follows to achieve your objective:

  • Find the file ieeetr.bst in your TeX distribution. Make a copy of this file and name the copy, say, ieeetr-noquotes.bst. Do not edit an original file of the TeX distribution directly.

  • Open the file ieeetr-noquotes.bst in your favorite text editor. The program you use to edit your tex files will do fine.

  • Inside the bst file, locate the functions format.title and format.title.p. (In my copy of the file, the code begins on line 250).

    The code block should look like this:

    FUNCTION {format.title}
    { title empty$
        { "" }
        { "``" title "t" change.case$ * ",''" * }
    FUNCTION {format.title.p}
    { title empty$
        { "" }
        { "``" title "t" change.case$ * ".''" * }

    Aside: In the ieeetr bibliography style, the function format.title is used to format the contents of the title field for most entry types -- except @booklet, @misc, and @unpublished, for which format.title.p is used under certain circumstances. (Feel free to parse the code in the function misc to explore these "certain circumstances"...)

  • Change the lines before the respective if$ statements to

        { "" title "t" change.case$ * "," * }


        { "" title "t" change.case$ * "." * }
  • Save the file ieeetr-noquotes.bst -- either in the directory where your main tex file is located or in a directory that's searched by your TeX distribution. If you choose the latter option, be sure to also update the filename database of your TeX distribution.

  • In your main tex file, change the instruction



  • Finally, run a complete recompile cycle -- latex, bibtex, and latex twice more -- to fully propagate the resulting changes.

Happy BibTeXing!

A full MWE that uses the modified form of the ieeetr bibliography style:

enter image description here

   author  = "Anne Author",
   title   = "Thoughts",
   journal = "Circularity Today",
   year    = 3001,
   volume  = 1,
   number  = 2,
   pages   = "3-4",
   author  = "Zebulon Zwicki",
   title   = "Further Thoughts",
   note    = "Private Communication",
   year    = 3002,


Just for completeness, here's how the output of the preceding MWE looks like if the unmodified ieeetr bibliography style were used:

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • I am sorry, I tried to upvote but I am not allowed to because I don't have any reputation. How do I accept? – Eleni Christodoulou Dec 29 '16 at 8:07
  • OK, I found it :) – Eleni Christodoulou Dec 29 '16 at 8:08

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