This question is similar to Suppress “In:” biblatex and biblatex: How to remove the parentheses around the year in authoryear style?, but I don’t want to change the format of bibliography entries completely, but would rather like it to deal better with some cases.

If I have a BibTeX entry of type @article which does not give a journal title (e. g. in the journal field), as it happens with pure e-print articles, the entry is still printed of the form “In: (<year>)” in the bibliography.

For example, with this BibTeX entry, the entry is printed as follows in the bibliography:

D. Wegman. “Deviations of exact neutrino textures using radiative neutrino masses”. In: (2017). arXiv: 1711.08004 [hep-ph].

The part “In: (2017).” looks very suboptimal. How could the formatting be improved for entries without a journal title?

  • 3
    This is not an @article entry. It is an @online. See the arXiv-only examples in biblatex-examples.bib. @article is only for papers published in a journal, @articles always have a journal (and volume). If a paper does not have a journal that means it was not published in a journal and so @article is inappropriate
    – moewe
    Feb 13, 2018 at 14:02
  • 2
    To echo @moewe's comment: If an entry is lacking a journal field, the entry shouldn't be given the type @article. Period.
    – Mico
    Feb 13, 2018 at 14:03
  • I see. So I suppose the fault lies with the BibTeX output at INSPIRE-HEP.
    – Socob
    Feb 13, 2018 at 14:04
  • 1
    It is a possibility: tex.stackexchange.com/q/386053/105447
    – gusbrs
    Feb 13, 2018 at 14:08
  • Related: tex.stackexchange.com/q/411073/105447
    – gusbrs
    Feb 13, 2018 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


The entry type @article is only for papers that were actually published in a journal. @articles must always have a journal (and volume) field. That means that if an entry was not published in a journal and consequently has no journal field, it cannot be an @article.

arXiv preprints that are not yet published in a journal are normally classified as @online entries. Compare the entries baez/online, itzhaki and wassenberg in biblatex-examples.bib. You could go with

  author       = {Wegman, D.},
  title        = {Deviations of Exact Neutrino Textures Using Radiative Neutrino Masses},
  date         = {2017-11-21},
  version      = 1,
  eprinttype   = {arxiv},
  eprint       = {1711.08004},
  eprintclass  = {hep-ph},

There is no reason to believe that not choosing @article and using @online instead somehow demotes the source to a second-class citation. Choosing entry types is not about "rating" the source, it is about picking the correct framework to fit in the publication data.

There might be a general sentiment that online sources are generally less reliable or less citable (is that even a word?), but the entry type in a .bib should not be seen as an indicator to assess this. If you absolutely can't live with @online go for @misc instead.

I will admit that the advent of online publishing may have blurred the lines between periodicals/journals and pre-print servers. And it might be hard to come up with a good definition of what a journals is now. Nevertheless I think that the arXiv is not a journal.

  • I disagree. arXiv should be considered as a journal, in this sense. Its pre-print status can optionally be indicated with: pubstate = {\bibstring{prepublished}}. There is no need to consider pre-prints as second-class objects, especially for citation purposes.
    – Coby Viner
    Jun 16, 2018 at 18:38
  • @CobyViner There is no indication that not choosing @article as entry types somehow demotes the status of a source or diminishes its significance - let alone turns it into a second-class object! Picking the right entry type is not about "rating" a source, it is about choosing the right framework for the data. And I maintain that the arXiv is not a (scientific) journal with volumes, pages and hence not really appropriate here. After all you would not try to stuff a @book into an @article...
    – moewe
    Jun 16, 2018 at 18:45
  • I disagree on both points. And it is worth noting that many peer-reviewed journals themselves are online-only and lack volumes, having a page number in the same fashion as arXiv (that is an article number alone). Especially given the difficulty that still remains in citing pre-prints in some journals (for economic, and not scientific reasons), it is worth considering the impact that citing them as @online might have. But regardless, I really do think that they are an @article in every sense and their journal is simply "arXiv".
    – Coby Viner
    Jun 16, 2018 at 19:01
  • @CobyViner You are certainly right that the advent of online publishing and online-only publishing has made it harder to pin down whether or not a publication is a 'journal'. For what it is worth I think it is absurd to imply that not choosing @article would demote a source: To circumvent that I could simply invent my own journal to obtain promotion to @article. The entry type @article does not grant a higher status than @online by itself - what you or other people read into it is a different matter.
    – moewe
    Jun 16, 2018 at 19:14
  • My main point is that arXiv should be considered as an @article, in every sense. Its citations should follow the usual format for any journal. And I do not think the suggestion is absurd—it is fundamentally about the nature of pre-prints, not about relative "status" of citation types in any overall sense. It seems we will have to agree to disagree.
    – Coby Viner
    Jun 16, 2018 at 19:16

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