My BibTeX file contains citations with names in full for some and others containing names that have initials for all but the last naems. I do not want to lose the full names for the citations I have. When I use natbib to provide citations, the reference list is all over the place in that it lacks consistency. I get:

First Name Author and Second N. Author ----

for one citation and

F. N. Author and S. Name Author --

for another. Other variations also. Is it possible to force natbib to be consistent with the listing? I guess that would mean that all names would have all but the last names in initials for all the authors in the reference list?

Unfortunately, the OA journal (www.jmlr.org) that I am writing for has a vanilla natbib BibTeX file and not its own separate BibTeX style file.

As an example,consider the following example LaTeX source file which uses the style file (that uses natbib but I am not allowed to change the style file): jmlre.sty and the BibTeX file and produces the pdf file Note that the first reference uses abbreviations in the name (because that is what the BibTeX file has) for the first citation but the second citation has the full name. I wonder if it is possible to have a consistent format using the style file (which uses natbib).

  • 2
    This looks like a problem with your .bib file entries, not natbib. Can you edit your question to show two bib entries that produce different results. And what bibliography style are you using?
    – Alan Munn
    Mar 26, 2018 at 3:42
  • I added the example. I am using the journal's style file which uses natbib from what i can tell. Mar 27, 2018 at 2:33

1 Answer 1


If you pass the option abbrvbib to the document class, it will abbreviate all first names to initials. If you don't, full names will be used. Obviously there is no way to create full names from entries that only have initials in the .bib file, so if you don't use the abbrvbib option, you will get a mixture of initials and full names.

  • Thank you! This woks! I will let the journal know. They don't seem to know it, if you read their recommendations. They say that it is left to the authors to create a consistent file! Mar 27, 2018 at 3:56

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