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I have defined my bibliography style with this line in the preamble: \usepackage[style=nature]{biblatex}. Is there a way to get the sourcecode of the bibliographystyle and provide a modified copy?

I already searched for naturemag.bst and have put it into the same directory, but using a line like \usepackage[style=mynaturestyle]{biblatex} while having a file named mynaturestyle.bst in the same directory does not work.

The reason why I need to hack the nature style is because some journals like SciData claim to use Nature style, but require a different formatting.

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    biblatex does not use 'classical' .bst files; instead, modification of style is done using LaTeX commands. The style files are called nature.bbx and nature.cbx: you can see them for example on ctan.org/pkg/biblatex-nature – Joseph Wright Feb 6 '20 at 17:47
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    I suspect as it stands the question here is a duplicate of the general 'how to modify a biblatex style' one – Joseph Wright Feb 6 '20 at 17:48
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    If you want to submit your paper to a journal (or another publisher), do check if they can accept biblatex submissions before you proceed. biblatex requires a different workflow for publishers and is not as widely adopted as BibTeX (cf. tex.stackexchange.com/q/12175/35864). Often journals have their own .bst files or at least provide some additional guidance for LaTeX users that may include hints for the bibliography style as well. – moewe Feb 6 '20 at 19:13
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biblatex does not work with .bst files the same way classical BibTeX does. In fact if you use the default Biber backend, no .bst file is involved at all. (If you use BibTeX as backend, biblatex uses its biblatex.bst but that does not control any formatting in the output and should not be modified.)

Instead biblatex styles are defined with .bbx, .cbx and optionally .dbx and .lbx files. The idea is that

  • .bbx files contain the definitions for the bibliography style,
  • .cbx files contain the definitions of the citation style,
  • .dbx files contain additions to the data model (such a file is only required if a style wants to define new fields or entry types that are not present in the standard data model documented in the biblatex manual),
  • .lbx files contain localisation/language definitions (.lbx files are only needed if the style needs to change language-dependent stuff).

The first three files (if present) are usually called <stylename>.bbx, <stylename>.cbx, <stylename>.dbx, while the .lbx files are usually called <language>-<style suffix>.lbx (though the naming scheme for .lbx files is rather recent, older styles may use other conventions, but it is usually possible to tell the language and the style from the file name).


The Nature style of biblatex-nature consists only of the two main files nature.bbx and nature.cbx (https://ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/biblatex-contrib/biblatex-nature).

If you find a file nature.bst that has nothing to do with the output you get from \usepackage[style=nature]{biblatex}.

You can copy the nature.bbx and nature.cbx two files and rename them to mynaturestyle.bbx and mynaturestyle.cbx, respectively. Then you can go about modifying the files as you wish.

Since .bbx and .cbx files just contain normal LaTeX code, it is common not to copy the files at all, but to just apply the required redefinition in the preamble of your document (see for example create a hyperlink by using the url stored in the bibliography reference?).

You can find a bit more about where to put biblatex modifications in Biblatex.cfg vs .cls vs .sty.


There is a nice introduction to simple biblatex customisations at Guidelines for customizing biblatex styles.


Finally, it should be noted that biblatex requires a different workflow from publishers than classical BibTeX or thebibliography, so I would only use biblatex in a journal submission if the publishers explicitly mentions that biblatex should be used. Often publishers provide some guidance for LaTeX users (when they accept LaTeX submissions at all) and quite often they include hints about the bibliography as well.

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