Author's initial is erroneously included in in-text citation

Hi there,

I used APA 6th referencing, and Paperpile normally handles this really well. However, I have two references that are proving a problem. This one, and this one.

For both references, Paperpile is including the initial/first name of the first author in the in text citation. I tried putting a link to the image, but the forum won’t let me as I’m new.

I’m wondering if there’s a few reasons for this problem:

  • Is the special character causing a problem?

  • Is Paperpile trying to distinguish between two “different” authors? (they’re the same person)

This happens when only one of the citations is inlcluded (so it’s not because the same author is included in two citations together). The problem is solved when I change the ö to an o, but this isn’t the author’s name. Are there any solutions out there?


EDIT: When there are two citations, with the same author, and I only change the author’s name (from ö to o) in one of the references, it solves both of them. This suggests to me that Paperpile is trying to distinguish between two different authors.

DOUBLE EDIT: Problem is now solved. I’ve changed all of the authors to be identical (they’re all “Mörtberg, E” now, as opposed to a mix between that and “Mörtberg, Ewa”)

That’s a super frequently asked question. You found exactly the right solution and reason for this behaviour. See also this about this issue:

While I understand the behaviour, the fix is super annoying. I can search for all articles of one author but manually fixing the spelling is very laborious. If this is a very frequent issue also for other users, could you include a feature to merge similar versions of author names as belonging to the same author?

Yes, it would be helpful to have bulk editing. It has been suggested before but it’s not on our immediate roadmap at the moment.

@ paperpile staff, it would be great if the auto-update function could be restricted such that author names were formatted in a certain way. I encounter this problem quite often and know that the fix is to manually edit the author names, but if at a later point I then auto-update that reference, those manual edits are often overwritten.
One issue is not to use the auto-update function, or to only use it once, but this removes a lot of the utility of that function for me. For example I’ll often want to auto-update all the references cited in a paper I’ve just written before I submit that paper to a journal, to make sure the refs are up to date. But inevitably this creates several author name conflicts that I have to go back and manually edit.

1 Like

I support this.
Also, there is already an option for merging articles that seem similar. I would assume it should be possible to make an option to suggest merging similar authors. Something like what we have on our phones now days - merge contacts.

Would be great!

I would also support this. Paperpile does not always pick up the same details for the same author and I have had to edit upwards of 60 papers as a result. Having a bulk edit mode would make this considerably easier :slight_smile:

i have a same issue (author’s first initials appearing in the in-text citation) but i can’t solve the problem by merging authors bcs they are different authors. (KD Harris vs JK Harris), but with different second authors **[K. D. Harris & Shepherd, 2015)] vs **[J.K. Harris & Stevens, 2018)]

what is the solution in this case?


Welcome to the community @Tony_Zador! This is a requirement of APA style. In APA style, if
⁠the first authors of multiple references share the same second name but have different initials, then the first authors’ initials in all in-text citations need to be included.