I found this answer to a very similar question: BibTeX: How to reduce long author lists to “Firstauthor et al.”?

However, the proposed solution did not work for me. I have a style provided by the publisher who, at the same time explains that the reference authors should be truncated after the third author (followed by et al)

in the file I found the { namesleft #1 > and changed it as instructed in that reply but it did not work. Can you help me?

{ 'bibinfo :=
 duplicate$ empty$ 'skip$ {
 's :=
 "" 't :=
 #1 'nameptr :=
 s num.names$ 'numnames :=
 numnames 'namesleft :=
   { namesleft #0 > }
   { s nameptr
     "{vv~}{ll}{ f{}}{ jj}"
     bibinfo bibinfo.check
     't :=
     nameptr #1 >
      % {
       %  namesleft #1 >
nameptr #1 >
         nameptr #3
         #1 + =
         numnames #5
         > and
           { "others" 't :=
             #1 'namesleft := }
         namesleft #1 >
           { ", " * t * }
             "," *
             s nameptr "{ll}" format.name$ duplicate$ "others" =
               { 't := }
               { pop$ }
             t "others" =
                 " " * bbl.etal *
               { " " * t * }
     nameptr #1 + 'nameptr :=
     namesleft #1 - 'namesleft :=
 } if$
} ```
  • Welcome to TeX.SE. Please tell us which bibliography style you employ at present. If it's a nonstandard style, please indicate if it's available online. – Mico Sep 9 at 21:59
  • Are you sure you copied the instructions in this answer -- shameless self-citation alert! -- correctly? Looking at the code you posted, it looks like the second instance of nameptr #1 > doesn't belong. – Mico Sep 9 at 22:07
  • you are right: the second instance of nameptr #1 > does not belong to the correct instructions: I realized it and corrected but still it does not wotk. The style is available on the Springer website in a zipfile at: resource-cms.springernature.com/springer-cms/rest/v1/content/… – Fabio61 Sep 9 at 22:33
  • The link you furnished provides three bst files: spbasic, spphys, and spmpsci. Which one do you employ? – Mico Sep 9 at 22:40
  • spbasic, sorry: I should have specified it! – Fabio61 Sep 9 at 22:44

The OP has indicated in a comment that he/she uses the spbasic bibliography style that's supplied by Springer.

To achieve the desired formatting -- to show the names of all authors if an entry has at most 4 authors, but to show the first three authors only followed by "et al." if the entry has more than 4 authors -- I suggest you proceed as follows.

  • Make a copy of spbasic.bst and call the copy, say, spbasic85.bst.

  • Open the file spbasic85.bst in a text editor. The program you use to edit tex files will be fine.

  • Locate the function format.names. (In my copy of the bst file, the function starts on line 455.)

  • In this function, locate the following 2 lines:

          nameptr #1 >
  • Immediately after these two lines, and hence before the line that says namesleft #1 >, insert the following 8 lines of code:

              nameptr #3
              #1 + =
              numnames #4
              > and
                { "others" 't :=
                  #1 'namesleft := }
  • Save the file spbasic85.bst either in the folder that contains the main tex file or a in a folder that's searched by BibTeX. If you select the latter option, be sure to also apply a suitable update to the filename database of your TeX distribution. (If you're not sure you understand the preceding sentence, I strongly suggest you select option 1...)

  • In your main tex file, change \bibliographystyle{spbasic} to \bibliographystyle{spbasic85} and perform a full recompile cycle -- LaTeX, BibTeX, and LaTeX twice more -- to propagate all changes.

A full MWE:

enter image description here

  @misc{abc,author="A and B and C",title="X",year=3000}
  @misc{abcd,author="A and B and C and D",title="Y",year=3001}
  @misc{abcde,author="A and B and C and D and E",title="Z",year=3002}


\cite{abc}, \cite{abcd}, \cite{abcde}
| improve this answer | |
  • I realized that the references are numbered in the order they are cited, but are listed in an alphabetic order. Is there a way to have the reference list in the oreder they are cited? At the moment I have the following options: \usepackage[numbers,sort]{natbib} – Fabio61 Sep 10 at 15:44
  • @Fabio61 - Please see the posting Problem with Springer bibliography style(spbasic + natbib) for an answer to your follow-up question. (Shameless self-citation alert!) – Mico Sep 10 at 17:46

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