I am using apacite as shown in MWE below. However, I expect the output to be Cohen et al. when using shortcite. Instead it gives me the following output.

some text (Cohen, Schvaneveldt, & Widdows, 2017; Cohen, Whitfield, et al., 2017)

Is there a way to resolve this issue?



\title{some text and mainly}
some text \shortcite{1,2}, 


title={Title 1},
author={Cohen,Trevor and Schvaneveldt,Roger and Widdows,Dominic},
journal={Journal of},

  title={Title 2},
  author={Cohen, Trevor and Whitfield, Kerr and Schvaneveldt, Roger and Mukund, Kavitha and Rindflesch, Thomas},
  journal={Journal of biomedical discovery and collaboration},

I am happy to provide more details if needed.


This is again a feature of the APA style, the documentation of apacite alludes to this first with

There are some special cases, where some of the authors and the year are the \shortcite same, but not the whole author list, in which more names are retained on subsequent citations as well.

Because "Cohen et al." might be ambiguous as to which author list is meant, the two lists are expanded to make them unambiguous

Cohen, Schvaneveldt, & Widdows, 2017; Cohen, Whitfield, et al., 2017

a similar phenomenon is on p. 63 of the apacite documentation

Kosslyn, Koenig, Barrett, et al. (1996) and Kosslyn, Koenig, Gabrieli, et al. (1996)

because "Kosslyn et al." might be ambiguous.

It might be possible to hack the disambiguation out of apacite.bst, but I would strongly advise against that since that would be going against APA style. See also the following two blog posts on the APA website https://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2011/10/reference-twins.html

The first in-text citations to each of these articles would be as follows:

  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, & Gigerenzer, 2010)
  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, Schooler, Goldstein, & Gigerenzer, 2010)

Now, what about subsequent in-text citations? Usually we would abbreviate studies with three or more authors to the first author name plus et al. (Latin for “and others”); however, doing so here would produce two Marewski et al. (2010) citations, leaving the reader unable to tell which one you mean. The solution is to spell out as many names as necessary (here, to the third name) upon subsequent citations to tell the two apart:

  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, & Gigerenzer, 2010)
  • (Marewski, Gaissmaier, Schooler, et al., 2010)

Notice that for the first reference, this means that all citations to this source will include all three names. For the second reference, the two remaining names can be abbreviated to et al. (Note, however, that if only one name remains to distinguish the references, that name must be spelled out with all the rest because et al. is plural—it cannot stand for only one name. This topic will be elaborated upon in an upcoming post.)

and https://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2011/11/the-proper-use-of-et-al-in-apa-style.html

The correct in-text citations would be written as follows for all citations of these two references:

  • (Berry, Henson, & Shanks, 2006)
  • (Berry, Shanks, & Henson, 2006)

Avoid the following common incorrect ways of citing these references in text:

  • (Berry, Henson, et al., 2006), (Berry et al., 2006a)
  • (Berry, Shanks, et al., 2006), (Berry et al., 2006b)

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