I am using TeXstudio to compile, the problem I am having is that I cannot regenerate the file when I add references to my text. The .bbl file doesn't regenerate itself and it is totally empty. It looks like this:



The references are cited in .bib file and the .tex file; how to correctly compile this so that the .bbl file gets regenerated and successfully build my file?

The exact error which shows up is:

Something's wrong--perhaps a missing \item. \end{thebibliography}

A snippet of my .tex file:

\cite{BOURDIN2000797} \cite{MIEHE20102765,doi:10.1002/nme.2861,MOLNAR201727,MSEKH2015472}.\cite{BOURDIN2000797}.
% References, variant B: external bibliography

My .bib file looks like:

    title = "Numerical experiments in revisited brittle fracture",
    journal = "Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids",
    volume = "48",
    number = "4",
    pages = "797 - 826",
    year = "2000",
    issn = "0022-5096",
    doi = "https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5096(99)00028-9",
    url = "http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022509699000289",
    author = "B. Bourdin and G.A. Francfort and J-J. Marigo",
    keywords = "A. Fracture, Fracture toughness, C. Energy methods, Variational calculus, Finite elements",

    title = "2D and 3D Abaqus implementation of a robust staggered phase-field solution for modeling brittle fracture",
    journal = "Finite Elements in Analysis and Design",
    volume = "130",
    pages = "27 - 38",
    year = "2017",
    issn = "0168-874X",
    doi = "https://doi.org/10.1016/j.finel.2017.03.002",
    url = "http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168874X16304954",
    author = "Gergely Molnár and Anthony Gravouil",
    keywords = "Brittle fracture, Crack propagation, Abaqus UEL, Phase-field, Staggered solution, Finite element method",

    title = "Abaqus implementation of phase-field model for brittle fracture",
    journal = "Computational Materials Science",
    volume = "96",
    pages = "472 - 484",
    year = "2015",
    note = "Special Issue Polymeric Composites",
    issn = "0927-0256",
    doi = "https://doi.org/10.1016/j.commatsci.2014.05.071",
    url = "http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0927025614004133",
    author = "Mohammed A. Msekh and Juan Michael Sargado and Mostafa Jamshidian and Pedro Miguel Areias and Timon Rabczuk",
    keywords = "Finite element method, Abaqus user subroutines, Phase-field model, Brittle fracture",

    title = "A phase field model for rate-independent crack propagation: Robust algorithmic implementation based on operator splits",
    journal = "Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering",
    volume = "199",
    number = "45",
    pages = "2765 - 2778",
    year = "2010",
    issn = "0045-7825",
    doi = "https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cma.2010.04.011",
    url = "http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045782510001283",
    author = "Christian Miehe and Martina Hofacker and Fabian Welschinger",
    keywords = "Fracture, Crack propagation, Phase fields, Gradient-type damage, Incremental variational principles, Finite elements, Coupled multi-field problem",

    author = {Miehe C. and Welschinger F. and Hofacker M.},
    title = {Thermodynamically consistent phase‐field models of fracture: Variational principles and multi‐field FE implementations},
    journal = {International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering},
    volume = {83},
    number = {10},
    pages = {1273-1311},
    keywords = {fracture, crack propagation, phase‐fields, gradient‐type damage, incremental variational principles, finite elements, coupled multi‐field problems},
    doi = {10.1002/nme.2861},
    url = {https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/nme.2861},
    eprint = {https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/nme.2861},
  • 1
    Check the blg-file for errors. Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 15:05
  • 1
    Mhhh, it's not totally empty, so BibTeX did do a little bit of work, it just did not manage to fill the bibliography. You should get errors or warnings when you run BibTeX (also logged in the .blg file) can you share those with us? It would also help greatly if you could show us a full example document (and MWE tex.meta.stackexchange.com/q/228/35864 or MWEB tex.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4407/35864) that reproduces the behaviour with as little code as possible.
    – moewe
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 15:06
  • I'll have a closer look soon, but there should not be a file extension in \bibliography{trial.bib}: it should just be \bibliography{trial}. Ideally you would show us the .blg file that is created when you run BibTeX. (BTW: Are we talking this template mdpi.com/authors/latex ?)
    – moewe
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 15:11
  • 1
    The MWE works sort of OK for me. I get errors about a few missing variables like title and address, but I suppose that is due to a missing metadata section for the title page. But if I ignore those errors I do get a complete bibliography after compiling LaTeX, BibTeX, LaTeX, LaTeX. There is one issue in doi:10.1002/nme.2861, there should be commas in the author field to separate the family from the given name author = {Miehe, C. and Welschinger, F. and Hofacker, M.},. But that should not be the cause of your actual problem - still something you should fix, though.
    – moewe
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 15:17
  • 1
    Of course what I said in the last comment only holds if I leave out the file extension .bib in \bibliography. It must be \bibliography{trial}. If I use the incorrect form with the .bib extension I can reproduce the undesired behaviour.
    – moewe
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


The file name in \bibliography must be given without the .bib file extension, so the correct form would be


You will also want to check the author field in doi:10.1002/nme.2861. Family and given names must be separated with a comma if they are given in reversed order, so

author = {Miehe, C. and Welschinger, F. and Hofacker, M.},

would be correct.

Furthermore, have a look at your doi fields and make sure they only include the DOI and not the entire URL of the resolver, so in MIEHE20102765 you should have

doi = "10.1016/j.cma.2010.04.011",

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