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I have a problem with the list of references. I couldn't find the answer anywhere. I am using apacite with the option natbibapa and BibTeX (.bib file). My university requires the references to be numbered like:

  1. ref1
  2. ref2
  3. ref3

However, I still want the citing in the text to be authoryear:

Doe (2020) argues...

Any idea how to get there? Please note that I would prefer to stick with apacite, if possible.

(I tried various options on how to solve this issue, but none works. I also tried different options in addition to apacite, like natbib with apalike, but the style was not completely correct. I also read that apacite is the best for APA style references.)

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    apacite implements APA style as described in the 6th edition of the APA publication manual. As far as I know the manual does not mention numbered references, so it is no surprise that apacite doesn't support numbered references out of the box. The problem with combining numbered references with author-year citations in the text is that the numbers in the bibliography are going to be completely unmotivated and detached from anything else that is going on in your document. ...
    – moewe
    Apr 11, 2020 at 12:15
  • ... Additionally the numbers will draw away focus from the important bits of the bibliography (namely author/editor name and year, which is what your readers know from the citation). What I'm trying to say is: Don't number your bibliography if you cite as author-year in the text. Either use numeric citations in the text and number your bibliography or don't number anything and an use author-year citation style and a compatible bibliography style.
    – moewe
    Apr 11, 2020 at 12:17
  • I agree, but unfortunately these are the university requirements.
    – Anna
    Apr 11, 2020 at 12:26
  • But are the university requirements really that you have to cite author-year in the text?
    – moewe
    Apr 11, 2020 at 12:26
  • What you describe to by your university's stylistic requirements for the bibliography doesn't sound at all like the apa system. Instead, it sounds very much like the so-called Vancouver system, aka an author-number system. Can you verify whether your university wants author-year or author-number citation call-outs? I know what you wrote, "I still want the citing in the text to be authoryear". But does your university really require it?
    – Mico
    Apr 11, 2020 at 12:57

1 Answer 1

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apacite implements the citation and bibliography style from the 6th edition of the APA publication manual.

APA style is an author-year style and does not involve numbering entries in the bibliography as far as I know. Indeed numbered bibliographies will look out of place with an author-year citation style.

Now that you have been warned sufficiently that this is not APA compliant and a bad idea in general, let's attempt to get a numbered bibliography.

With natbibapa apacite delegates control over the bibliography environment (thebibliography) to natbib, so we have to fiddle with natbib's internal commands to make it produce a numbered bibliography.

There is one problem here: apacite's bibliography style does not calculate the longest numeric label that we need to format the list properly. Because I'm lazy I just hard-coded a value that seemed sensible below (1em, but you may need a higher value if the numbers get longer).

\documentclass[british]{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{babel}
\usepackage{csquotes}

\usepackage[natbibapa]{apacite}

\makeatletter
\renewcommand\@biblabel[1]{[#1]}%

\renewcommand\NAT@bibsetnum[1]{%
   \setlength{\labelwidth}{1em}%
   \setlength{\labelsep}{2\labelsep}%
   \setlength{\leftmargin}{\labelwidth}
   \addtolength{\leftmargin}{\labelsep}%
   \setlength{\itemsep}{\bibsep}\setlength{\parsep}{\z@}%
   \ifNAT@openbib
     \addtolength{\leftmargin}{\bibindent}%
     \setlength{\itemindent}{-\bibindent}%
     \setlength{\listparindent}{\itemindent}%
     \setlength{\parsep}{0pt}%
   \fi
}

\newcommand*{\numbibliography}{%
  \let\@bibsetup\NAT@bibsetnum
  \let\@biblabel\NAT@biblabelnum
  \bibliography}
\makeatother


\begin{document}
\citet{apa6:ch7-ex38}

\bibliographystyle{apacite}
\numbibliography{apa5ex}
\end{document}

Numbered APA bibliography.


It should be noted that the current edition of the APA publication manual is the 7th edition. The only 7th-edition APA style implementation I know of is biblatex-apa.

With biblatex-apa you could use the following definitions to get a numbered bibliography (see Using bibstyle=numeric but displaying autho, year without brackets in the bibliography)

\documentclass[british]{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{babel}
\usepackage{csquotes}

\usepackage[style=apa, backend=biber]{biblatex}

\addbibresource{biblatex-examples.bib}

\defbibenvironment{bibliography}
  {\setlength{\leftmargin}{\bibhang}%
   \setlength{\itemindent}{-\leftmargin}%
   \setlength{\labelsep}{\biblabelsep}%
   \setlength{\itemsep}{\bibitemsep}%
   \setlength{\parsep}{\bibparsep}%
   \begin{enumerate}}
  {\end{enumerate}}
  {\item}

\begin{document}
\autocite{sigfridsson}
\printbibliography
\end{document}

Note that with this setting there is no way to access these label numbers later. If you wanted that, you'd need to activate the option labelnumber and

\DeclareFieldFormat{labelnumberwidth}{\mkbibbrackets{#1}}
\DeclareFieldFormat{shorthandwidth}{\mkbibbrackets{#1}}
\defbibenvironment{bibliography}
  {\list
     {\printtext[labelnumberwidth]{%
        \printfield{labelprefix}%
        \printfield{labelnumber}}}
     {\setlength{\labelwidth}{\labelnumberwidth}%
      \setlength{\leftmargin}{\labelwidth}%
      \setlength{\labelsep}{\biblabelsep}%
      \addtolength{\leftmargin}{\labelsep}%
      \setlength{\itemsep}{\bibitemsep}%
      \setlength{\parsep}{\bibparsep}}%
      \renewcommand*{\makelabel}[1]{\hss##1}}
  {\endlist}
  {\item}
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  • Thank you very much. This solved my problem.
    – Anna
    Apr 11, 2020 at 13:27
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    @Anna Glad to hear that! (Though I'm not glad to hear that you are forced to cite with the suboptimal combination of bibliography and citation style.) If the answer helped you, you may want to consider accepting it by clicking on the green checkmark on the top left, see tex.stackexchange.com/help/someone-answers
    – moewe
    Apr 11, 2020 at 13:28
  • 1
    Thanks. Done! (And I completely agree, believe me. I've been complaining about these rules for at least 10 years.)
    – Anna
    Apr 11, 2020 at 13:34

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