Reports of Style errors

Hi everyone,
Rintze and I just received and answered a question by someone interested in
implementing CSL about the reliability/correctness of our styles.
Rintze and I mostly know about error reports to Zotero (and the very
occasional ones submitted via github or by non-Zotero users on the Zotero
forums) and we had Carles chime in from the Mendeley perspective, but it
left me wondering what the experience of other implementers is (Papers,
Docear, Paperpile, anyone else who is following along).

  1. Do you receive error reports on citation styles and if so approx. how
  2. What do you do with those?

I’m also wondering whether people would be willing to submit a
blurb/testimonial that we could use on the webpage to signal to possible
new implementers that CSL isn’t just widely adopted but that those who have
adopted it are happy with it.


That was for 2012:

  1. Do you receive error reports on citation styles and if so approx. how many?

About 200 / year

  1. What do you do with those?

I have tried to help when possible. For existing styles, I would check the info for authors. For new styles, I usually would ask the user to find the closest possible style, and then tell me what exact changes are needed from there. We also try to gently push the user towards the existing style editor.

Here is our typical answer for Papers style requests:

All the styles available with Papers are listed in the style browser that you can access as follows:

  • Go into the Papers Preferences…Citations
  • Click on the popup menu ‘Favorite Styles’ and select ‘More Styles…’
  • This will open the Style Browser

Note that many journals actually point in their instructions to authors to some generic standard styles like ‘Vancouver’, ‘APA’ or ‘Chicago’ to be used for their publications. That’s often a good way to get the style you want.

Now, if you find a style that’s close to what you need, but not quite there, I’d be very happy to apply the necessary tweaks and make it work for you. In this case, please show me an example of the wrong format and what you would expect it to be (both the in-text cite and the bibliography entries). In such case, please be sure to give me a link to the instruction to authors so I can add this link to the style as well for reference.

If you are curious, we also made it possible to overwrite the styles present in Papers2, or to add more styles, by dragging CSL files into Papers, or adding them to the ‘Styles’ subfolder that you will find in your Papers2 library folder. This however requires you to edit the XML files that are used by CSL, and to read the CSL specifications. It’s not for the feint of heart, but if you are comfortable with XML and have a good text editor like TextMate or similar, then it’s not out of reach. The advantage of CSL is that it is used by other applications, it has been developed in the open by many others before Papers adopted it, and there is a lot of material online about it.

Here is more info on our Knowledge Base:

Here is the CSL reference:

And here are the main repositories for CSL stylesheets:

Finally, if you create a new style and submit it to the CSL repository, you can claim a free Papers2 serial:

Great, thanks.
So to make sure I understand correctly: those ~200 are both style requests
and error reports for existing styles, right? Any rough idea on how many
errors get reported for existing styles? And if they do, do you just fix
them? My main interest here are twofold:

  1. I’d like to get a sense of how reliable users find existing CSL styles
  2. I’d like to make sure that when errors get reported for existing styles
    we hear about them (or they get fixed)On Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 1:37 AM, Charles Parnot <@Charles_Parnot>wrote:

Ah, sorry for the lack of details. I would say it’s been about 100 of each type of request for 2012, but as time went on, with so many more styles covered, it’s been more and more of style tweaking. I can’t say much about the whole of 2013, since I do very little work on Papers nowadays.