# ! Paragraph ended before \name was complete

I recently upgraded my texlive packages at home and I cannot compile my document anymore due to the references. I googled for it for several days already and I cannot find anything recent about this issue (it does pop up from time to time apparently). Most of my entries are extracted from ADS (particularly the ones that give me troubles).

Here is a minimal entry with one of such troublesome entries.

\documentclass[11pt]{article}
\usepackage{filecontents}
\begin{filecontents}{\jobname.bib}
@ARTICLE{2013APh....50...26A,
author = {{Abeysekara}, A.~U. and {Alfaro}, R. and {Alvarez}, C. and {{\'A}lvarez}, J.~D. and
{Tollefson}, K. and {Torres}, I. and {Ukwatta}, T.~N. and {Villase{\~n}or}, L. and
{Weisgarber}, T. and {Westerhoff}, S. and {Wisher}, I.~G. and
{Wood}, J. and {Yodh}, G.~B. and {Younk}, P.~W. and {Zaborov}, D. and
{Zepeda}, A. and {Zhou}, H.},
title = "{Sensitivity of the high altitude water Cherenkov detector to sources of multi-TeV gamma rays}",
journal = {Astroparticle Physics},
archivePrefix = "arXiv",
eprint = {1306.5800},
primaryClass = "astro-ph.HE",
keywords = {TeV gamma-ray astronomy, Water cherenkov, Cosmic ray},
year = 2013,
month = dec,
volume = 50,
pages = {26-32},
doi = {10.1016/j.astropartphys.2013.08.002},
adsnote = {Provided by the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System}
}
\end{filecontents}
\usepackage[language=english, style=numeric-comp, sorting=none, backend=biber, natbib=true, doi=false, bibencoding=utf8, isbn=false]{biblatex}

\begin{document}
This is a simple document\cite{2013APh....50...26A}
\end{document}


The error I get is

Runaway argument?
{{{hash=8b556f9238232cff536971111edddb4b}{family={{Abeysekara}}, fami\ETC.
! Paragraph ended before \name was complete.
\par
l.140
?


I guess the issue comes from the combination of curly braces + accents and other 'weird characters'.

I am using biber 2.10 and texlive 2017.45XXX (current archlinux's version).

At work, where it works fine, I'm using texlive 2017.44XXX and biber 2.7

Anything I can do about it apart from trying to downgrade my texlive (which is an ugly solution)?

• What does it do, if you try to clean up your bib file to have a consistent format? – thymaro Feb 10 '18 at 17:51
• If I remove the braces around the family names it does compile. But I have hundreds (if not thousands) of these multiple author entries extracted from ADS. If I have to manually correct them I rather I will become a bit crazy. Any way of dealing with it without doing the manual edits? – Mireia Feb 10 '18 at 17:57
• @Mireia Unfortunately, those braces are the cause for the error; they are wrong for multiple reasons. – egreg Feb 10 '18 at 17:58
• And why are they working with previous biblatex/biber versions? – Mireia Feb 10 '18 at 18:00
• Hmm... I see the problem. You could try feeding them to a ref manager and check the entries therein. Then export to a bib file. This way, at least, you're sure to have all braces and commas around fields, where they need to be. Other problems might arise, but my guess is there will be a lot less than doing the whole work by hand. Cf. egreg's answer, where he manually cleaned up the entries. There might be some other crazy wizard way, but I can't imagine there is. – thymaro Feb 10 '18 at 18:02

Egreg's recommendations are very good, but it is easy to understand your situation. I tried to narrow down what was causing the problem and, as it turns out, it is one of the names {{\'A}lvarez}. Somehow, that is resulting in a .bbl file with unbalanced braces, which gives you problems in your compilation. Once you are using bibencoding=utf8 you can change it to {Álvarez} and get rid of the error. I don't have your other problematic cases at hand, but my guess is the doble braces at the start cause the problem (even though I don't understand why they should cause a problem at all). If this is the case, the number of instances for you to fix would be already much, much smaller.

\documentclass[11pt]{article}
\usepackage{filecontents}
\begin{filecontents}{\jobname.bib}
@ARTICLE{2013APh....50...26A,
author = {{Abeysekara}, A.~U. and {Alfaro}, R. and {Alvarez}, C. and {Álvarez}, J.~D. and {Tollefson}, K. and {Torres}, I. and {Ukwatta}, T.~N. and {Villase{\~n}or}, L. and {Weisgarber}, T. and {Westerhoff}, S. and {Wisher}, I.~G. and {Wood}, J. and {Yodh}, G.~B. and {Younk}, P.~W. and {Zaborov}, D. and {Zepeda}, A. and {Zhou}, H.},
title = "{Sensitivity of the high altitude water Cherenkov detector to sources of multi-TeV gamma rays}",
journal = {Astroparticle Physics},
archivePrefix = "arXiv",
eprint = {1306.5800},
primaryClass = "astro-ph.HE",
keywords = {TeV gamma-ray astronomy, Water cherenkov, Cosmic ray},
year = 2013,
month = dec,
volume = 50,
pages = {26-32},
doi = {10.1016/j.astropartphys.2013.08.002},
adsnote = {Provided by the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System}
}
\end{filecontents}
\usepackage[language=english, style=numeric-comp, sorting=none, backend=biber, natbib=true, bibencoding=utf8, doi=false, isbn=false]{biblatex}

\begin{document}
This is a simple document\cite{2013APh....50...26A}
\end{document}

• There are lots of them more, like {\'a}, {\'{\i}} and lots of other combinations. I know they are not correctly formatted, but trust me ADS is a huge source of bib files for the astronomical community. – Mireia Feb 10 '18 at 18:32
• If my guess is correct, only those in the first letter of the names will cause you problem (I don't think they should!). You see in my example {Villase{\~n}or} is there working fine. – gusbrs Feb 10 '18 at 18:34
• Still, egreg is right in pointing that the braces are conceptually wrong. Supplied by the ADS or not. By the way, the problems with software generated entries are many and common. See tex.stackexchange.com/q/386053/105447. – gusbrs Feb 10 '18 at 18:39
• If you think that it is the case, you might want to report the issue at biber's github: github.com/plk/biber/issues – gusbrs Feb 10 '18 at 19:00
• @MigueldeVal-Borro, the issue has been reported to the biber developers and fixed in the current development version (3.11), which is promised to reach distribution sometime soon. I'm not an user of the ADS bibtex exporting myself, but if you think reporting it to the ADS developers is also a good idea, of course you might as well do that. – gusbrs Feb 15 '18 at 0:26

If I remove all the (wrong) braces around family names, there is no issue.

\documentclass[11pt]{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{filecontents}

\begin{filecontents}{\jobname.bib}
@ARTICLE{2013APh....50...26A,
author = {Abeysekara, A. U. and Alfaro, R. and Alvarez, C. and
{\'A}lvarez, J. D. and Tollefson, K. and Torres, I. and
Ukwatta, T. N. and Villase{\ n}or, L. and Weisgarber, T. and
Westerhoff, S. and Wisher, I. G. and
Wood, J. and Yodh, G. B. and Younk, P. W. and Zaborov, D. and
Zepeda, A. and Zhou, H.},
title = {Sensitivity of the high altitude water {Cherenkov} detector to
sources of multi-{TeV} gamma rays},
journal = {Astroparticle Physics},
archivePrefix = {arXiv},
eprint = {1306.5800},
primaryClass = {astro-ph.HE},
keywords = {TeV gamma-ray astronomy, Water cherenkov, Cosmic ray},
year = 2013,
month = dec,
volume = 50,
pages = {26-32},
doi = {10.1016/j.astropartphys.2013.08.002},
adsnote = {Provided by the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System}
}
\end{filecontents}

\usepackage[
language=english,
style=numeric-comp,
sorting=none,
%  backend=biber,
natbib=true,
doi=false,
%  bibencoding=utf8,
isbn=false
]{biblatex}

\begin{document}
This is a simple document~\cite{2013APh....50...26A}

\printbibliography
\end{document}


Also wrong are the ~ between initials. The argument to \addbibresource should contain the .bib extension.

• As mentioned in the previous comment, ADS generated the entries (it's my PhD thesis) and there are too many of them to manually edit them. Any way of dealing with it without editing by hand? – Mireia Feb 10 '18 at 17:59
• @Mireia I'm afraid the answer is no. What is ADS? – egreg Feb 10 '18 at 18:01
• egreg, those are good recommendations, of course, but should this bring compilation to a halt? Braces are balanced in his entry, and this results in a .bbl file with unbalanced braces. – gusbrs Feb 10 '18 at 18:18
• @gusbrs I think that Biber gets confused with accents. Maybe the issue can be fixed, but the braces around the names are wrong nonetheless. – egreg Feb 10 '18 at 18:22
• ADS = SAO/NASA's Astrophysics Data System adsabs.harvard.edu – Mireia Feb 10 '18 at 18:24

had the same problem, figured out now: you shall not nest braces 3+ levels deep.

as @gusbrs notices it has to do with the names--but only because noting accented letters in braces needs another level of nesting.

so, author = {{ÖKO} Friendly Company}, would work, but author = {{{\"O}KO} Friendly Company}, would not anymore.

even if the braces are balanced, there's an error. so author = {{{a}}}, will work, but author = {{{a} {b}}}, will not.

The last notation will throw an ! Paragraph ended before \name was complete. error.

Try to remove as much braces as possible, use utf8 encoding as already mentioned, should be enough for your entries.

N.B.: biber --tool -V *.bib will not warn you about that.

Just for people with the same problem: Download the newest biber version from sourceforge (2.11 did the trick for me) and install it.

On linux, you just have to unpack the zip-file and move the biber executable to the appropriate place:

which biber
/usr/bin/biber

sudo mv /usr/bin/biber /usr/bin/biber.old

sudo mv ./biber /usr/bin/biber


That fixed the problem for me. If I find some problems associated to this partial update down the line, I will report them here.

• Note that in general manual updates of Biber (or biblatex) are strongly discouraged. In particular just updating to Biber 2.11 without also having a Biber version that is compatible with it can seriously brake things. If you want to update biblatex or Biber always use the update facilities (tlmgr or MikTeX console) of your TeX distribution. – moewe Sep 24 '18 at 5:44