2

I found a paper in a top journal in my area here. I have a question regarding the inconsistency in citation displaying. For example, somewhere they use (author year), somewhere they use author (year) within a single paper cited as below:

The breakdown of collusive activities that involve higher prices and restricted output is likely to result in the expansion of production. It might also lead to technological change: colluding firms have fewer incentives to innovate, especially when they face little threat of external competition (Vives 2008)

Indeed, Xu (2012) examines the effect of higher import penetration (instrumented by tariff cuts and exchange rate changes) on leverage, and finds that leverage drops even controlling for current profitability.

I am using Mendeley (Mendeley-Desktop-1.19.8-win32). When I cite a paper, it will display as (author year) automatically as below:

enter image description here

If what the author did above is right, how should I modify my Mendeley to make a similar display? It is possible to manually adjust the reference display for every single citation, but this doesn't seem to be an efficient approach.

2
  • 8
    I know nothing of Mendeley, so I cannot help you there. But, to clarify something else: the authors of the linked paper probably use the natbib package for LaTeX, where you can use the \citet and \citep commands to get the desired behavior from any bibliography stored in BibTeX format. It's not inconsistent; it's a choice to explicitly reproduce the authors' names outside of the parentheses with \citet wherever they are the subject of the sentence, and inside of the parentheses with \citep wherever they are not. Aug 12 at 11:31
  • 2
    A good reference manager will do what you tell it to do. What you tell it to do is not always right. Aug 12 at 23:41
10

Their citation style is correct. The rule is that if you are just giving a citation (as in their first paragraph) and the names of the authors do not form part of the sentence, then the whole citation appears in parentheses.

However, if the names of the authors are to be read as part of the sentence (as in their second paragraph), they appear outside the parentheses and only the remainder of the citation is inside the parentheses. This is to avoid redundancy in e.g. "Indeed Xu (Xu 2012)..." which would be the other option.

See, for example, the Mendeley Harvard referencing guide, which gives examples:

When citing a source with two or three authors, state all surnames like so:

Mitchell, Smith and Thomson (2017, p. 189) states... Or

(Mitchell, Coyne and Thomson, 2017, p. 189)

What you have in "apart from that (Dong, Massa and Zaldokas 2019) prove..." is incorrect. The sentence should make sense even when what is inside the parentheses is removed; even ignoring that rule, (Dong, Massa and Zaldokas 2019) is a paper, not a group of people.

2
  • so, whether "Apart from that , (Dong, Massa and Zaldokas 2019) proves...." is correct then?
    – Louise
    Aug 12 at 9:25
  • 4
    @NoviceMindset It's better, but many people would still say it is incorrect for the first reason: sentences should still be grammatical after removing parenthetical stuff. (I personally don't agree with that "rule" when it comes to references, but it does seem to be the majority view.) No-one would complain about "apart from that, Dong, Massa and Zaldokas (2019) prove..." though. Aug 12 at 9:55
5

In the first instance, the authors of the paper in question simply cite the source. In the second instance, they actively name the source with the author in question (Xu in your example) being the subject of the sentence, which is why their name is not in parentheses. To avoid this seemingly inconsistent citation (although it isn't that inconsistent after all), you could also write it like this:

Indeed, Xu examines the effect of higher import penetration (instrumented by tariff cuts and exchange rate changes) on leverage, and finds that leverage drops even controlling for current profitability (Xu 2012).

Like that, you would not have to change anything in Mendeley either.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.