Thursday, June 28, 2007

spmpscinat.bst: A natbib style file for Journal of Mathematical Biology (e.g., Springer journals)

UPDATE: I learned how to use custom-bib's makebst. I've updated the spmpscinat.bst file in a more proper way by using makebst. I also regenerated the spmpsci.bst file so it properly reverses editor names to match the JMB format. I will submit these to JMB and hopefully they'll use them. FYI, these were mostly generated from spmpscinat.dbj and spmpsci.dbj, respectively.

I was frustrated to find out that the Journal of Mathematical Biology (JMB) has been using some outdated LaTeX support files. In particular, they distribute a BiBTeX style file that has no support for natbib use (or anything similar, like apacite). This appears to be less of a problem with JMB and more of a problem with Springer in general (i.e., most of its journals). They actually expect people to type the names of the authors that they reference directly (either that or use references (e.g., [2]) as nouns, which is bad style even though it saves space)! Can you believe that?

Civilized people use a package like natbib to do something like \citet{SK86} on every textual citation, which will then generate "Stephens and Krebs (1986)" (in Harvard mode) or "Stephens and Krebs [61]" (in numerical mode). There are lots of good reasons to do this. For one, it prevents me from accidentally turning "Krebs" into "Krbes".

To deal with this, I took the abbrvnat.bst style file packaged with natbib and hacked its support into the spmpsci.bst file from Springer. The result is spmpscinat.bst, which seems to work as desired for most bibliography entries I have tried.

I don't have a lot of experience with working with BiBTeX support files, so I have a feeling that it would have been better to use custom-bib to generate a BiBTeX style file in the JMB format that would be compatible with natbib. I may do that later.

So basically, I reserve the right to update or changed spmpscinat.bst at any time and without any notice, so look out for updates.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much! Saved me from doing it myself ;)

pcarbo said...

Thank you! It proved to be very useful.

Anonymous said...

How did you make natbib work with your new bst?! I also tried to use your bst file, but when I try to use it, it just doesn't generate the bibliography =/

Ted said...

Make sure you download spmpscinat.bst and place it in the same directory as your source document. Also make sure the BIB file (from your \bibliography line) is also in that directory. Then, in your source document either before your \bibliography line or after your line including natbib, use the line:

\bibliographystyle{spmpscinat}

Then...

1. Run LaTeX on your document to generate an AUX file.

2. Run BibTeX on the AUX file to generate a BBL file.

3. Run LaTeX on your document to include the BBL file contents where your \bibliography is.

4. Run LaTeX again to update any page numbers and references that may have changed after the inclusion of the bibliography content.

Sometimes it is necessary to go through this cycle again one more time. But that should at least get you started.

(of course, you need to also use directives like \citet and \citep (or possibly \cite, but you really should use \citet and \citep with natbib) within your document in order to generate the entries in your AUX that tell bibtex which entires from the BIB to put into the BBL)

Martin said...

Great! Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

Worked for me! Thank you very much!