I have a large biblatex file containing not only @articles, but also PhD theses as @phdthesis entries and Master's and Bachelor's theses as @misc entries. I would like to use RefManageR to extract the numbers of papers and theses by type for different years.

Thus I need to do the the following:

  1. Decide on whether to use @phdthesis, @mathesis, and @bathesis, or rather just use @thesis with an appropriate type attribute.
  2. Make the appropriate changes in the bibtex file. This can obviously only be semi-automatic, since I will have to inspect the @misc entries in order to decide the type.

Is there a prevailing opinion regarding the first step?

Does anyone have any good suggestions about how to achieve the second step? The simple replacement I can do easily within Emacs, but adding the type attribute seems more difficult (perhaps a reason to avoid the @thesis approach?).

  • 1
    Since the page you linked to says RefManageR supports biblatex, I'm failing to understand why you need to convert anything at all (I'm not acquainted with RefManageR though). Can't you just import the data and handle the queries you want to do on R's side?
    – gusbrs
    Dec 3, 2021 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


If you are planning on using biblatex (only), it is more natural to use @thesis together with type. @thesis is listed in §2.1.1 Regular Types of the biblatex documentation, whereas @phdthesis and @mastersthesis are type aliases (§2.1.2 Type Aliases) that are mapped to @thesis by the backend (Biber or BibTeX). Internally on the LaTeX side biblatex only knows @thesis. (This can sometimes lead to confusion, see e.g. https://github.com/plk/biblatex/issues/1180, that can be avoided if one exclusively thinks in terms of @thesis.)

If you want your .bib file to remain compatible with BibTeX styles, you should probably stick to @phdthesis and @mastersthesis. These are the types listed in btxdoc, which means that they are supported by the base BibTeX styles (plain and friends) and probably the vast majority of contributed styles. (There is no guarantee that contributed styles support all entry types and fields in the way btxdoc describes, but most do.)

Note that in any case neither the biblatex standard data model nor the BibTeX base styles know an entry type @bathesis (or similar). biblatex would, however, support @thesis+type = {bathesis}, (see https://github.com/plk/biblatex/issues/660).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .