I have recently seen author’s names being replaced with underscores in the references of two different works. For instance in Andrew Wiles’ Modular elliptic curves and Fermat’s last theorem:

enter image description here

In this case Ralph Greenberg is the author of On the structure of certain Galois groups. Why has his name been omitted?

  • 2
    This is a fairly common style, especially for longer bibliographies in math survey papers/books or in math historical papers/books, and probably also for for other fields as well. I have no idea how common the style is percentage-wise, but it's certainly common enough that I hardly notice it when I see it. Oct 16, 2017 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


Some citation styles allow you to use a long dash in place of an author name if the work you're citing has the same author as the preceding one. It's stylistic choice.

  • 21
    Wow, that's not confusing at all! ... :-(
    – einpoklum
    Oct 15, 2017 at 22:30
  • 10
    @einpoklum when the references are done with hanging indents, it actually is really nice. In my field, we frequently will cite several works from a single author, and it's visually very clear from the get go that all the works are from the same author. Oct 16, 2017 at 4:34
  • 3
    @einpoklum It's quite common to write ditto marks as --------- " -----------, with the length of the dashes indicating the extent of the repeated text, rather than putting a ditto mark under each word. Oct 16, 2017 at 8:34
  • 3
    That is a really weird style... my immediate impression was that the author is unknown... (that's how it looks to me anyway). Yes, I have never seen something like this used anywhere. - Then again, I find the habit or shortening journal names to unintelligible gibberish equally bad... (Especially given that modern journals aren't by default printed on paper any more...)
    – DetlevCM
    Oct 16, 2017 at 10:51
  • 3
    @DetlevCM: In this particular case I think the use of [E1], [E2] and [Gre1], [Gre2] pretty much eliminates the "author is unknown" possibility. Even when using something like [7], [8] and [12], [13], I would think the alphabetization would be strongly suggestive. In any event, when the author is not known this is usually indicated as such in some way (and almost always this only comes up, at least in math, in an occasional really old publication---such as 1800s---or in uncredited book reviews). Oct 16, 2017 at 11:52

You must log in to answer this question.

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