I get a warning every time I run bibtex on files using revtex4-1. I realize that this is just a warning and could be ignored, but my automatic compilation scheme (emacs) complains that there's a warning every time, so I'd really like to get rid of it. The warning is

Warning--jnrlst (dependency: not reversed) set 1

This even happens with files revtex supplies as examples, but I've cut it down to a (nearly) minimal working example: SimpleTex.tex is

Refer to Ref.~\cite{ArticleKey}.

and SimpleBib.bib is

  title =    {Cited work},
  journal =  "Awesomeness",
  author =   {Annie Author},
  year =     1999

Then, latex SimpleTex followed by bibtex SimpleTex gives me the warning. Interestingly, it appears to be using apsrev4-1.bst. But by explicitly giving the bibliographystyle (uncommenting the line in SimpleTex.tex), the warning goes away.

Is it safe to just use the \bibliographystyle statement? Any idea why that appears to work?

2 Answers 2


Indeed it's just a warning and you are expected to ignore it. You could make it go away by arranging for SimpleTexNotes.bib to contain control lines:


instead of the author="8" line that was there previously. This explicitly activates jnrlst rather than having it set as a dependency. For example you could have your build process run sed over the SimpleTexNotes.bib before running bibtex. Using bibliographystyle causes revtex to not emit the \citation{REVTEX41Control} \citation{apsrev41Control} lines to the aux file, since non-revtex bst files will not understand these. In this particular case the revtex4-1.bst defaults to the correct settings equivalent to @CONTROL{apsrev41Control,author="48",editor="1",pages="0",title="",year="1"} as desired, but in other cases it may not do as you would want. For example adding the longbibliography option to the \documentclass{revtex4-1} line would have no effect.

  • 1
    Ah, I was trying all kinds of things in that apsrev41Control block, but couldn't come up with author="48". Thanks. And thanks for the explanation, too! Anyway, I think I'll just stick with the explicit bibliographystyle statement, as that is easiest to implement.
    – Mike
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 1:40
  • 2
    When I use either of the @CONTROL lines you wrote, I get a message Repeated entry---line 1 of file references.bib; The @CONTROL command is at line 1 of references.bib
    – Girardi
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 18:41
  • @Girardi you need to edit those lines into \jobname Notes.bib (which is generated during TeXing of \jobname.tex) not in references.bib
    – Lev Bishop
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 7:09
  • 3
    ok, I found the Notes.bib file and added those two lines... But when I compile, it automatically changes the attributes to author="00",editor="1",pages="1",title="0",year="0" and gives jnrlst and dotless warnings
    – Girardi
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 10:50

As of late 2019 (REVTeX 4.2c), this is still an issue. I still find that the only reasonable solution is to add \bibliographystyle{apsrev4-2} before the \bibliography command.

In general the \bibliographystyle given should match the style REVTeX would use according to the class options: apsrev4-2 (default, most aps), apsrmp4-2 (aps,rmp), aipnum4-2 (aip numeric styles), aipauth4-2 (aip author-year styles), aapmrev4-2 (aapm).

The REVTeX-selected .bst can also be checked in the BibTeX log:

This is BibTeX, Version 0.99d (TeX Live 2022)
Capacity: max_strings=200000, hash_size=200000, hash_prime=170003
The top-level auxiliary file: output.aux
The style file: apsrev4-2.bst
  • Short, sweet and easy answer. Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 10:06
  • But one problem is that this may change the bibliography formatting.
    – Peter Shor
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 15:39
  • 2
    For Physics of Fluids, \bibliographystyle{apsrev4-2} suppresses the article title, which is mandatory. Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 15:51
  • 1
    In general the correct argument to \bibliographystyle should be the matching journal style, so one of apsrev4-2, apsrmp4-2, aipnum4-2, aipauth4-2, aaprmrev4-2.
    – Dai Bowen
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 10:57
  • @Mike would you mind if I edit your answer to cover the issue for the non-Phys Rev journals that REVTeX also supports?
    – Dai Bowen
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 11:07

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