Changing the way natbib displays citations: punctuations

By default, when using citep with natbib, the output is something like (Author et al., 1999), where there is a comma after the author, before the date. This is not the same format like that of ApJ, where the extra comma is not included. Using aastex or emulateapj should usually take care of this, but if you need to use natbib alone, it is possible to change the format using the ”aysep={char}” option in ”setcitestyle”:


More info about this method here:

More generally, you can use ”bibpunct” to change more of the punctuations. This command requires specification of six different components:

  1. the opening bracket symbol, default = (
  2. the closing bracket symbol, default = )
  3. the punctuation between multiple citations, default = ;
  4. the letter `n’ for numerical style, or `s’ for numerical superscript style, any other letter for author-year, default = author-year;
  5. the punctuation that comes between the author names and the year
  6. the punctuation that comes between years or numbers when common author lists are suppressed (default = ,);

The optional argument is the character preceding a post-note, default is a comma plus space. In redefining this character, one must include a space if one is wanted.

Example 1, bibpunct{[}{]}{,}{a}{}{;} changes the output of


into [Jones et al. 1990; 1991, James et al. 1992].

Example 2, bibpunct[; ]{(}{)}{,}{a}{}{;} changes the output of

citep[and references therein]{jon90}

into (Jones et al. 1990; and references therein).

See for more info. 

A brief statistical analysis of the Canadian penny phase-out: Are stores now charging more because of rounding?

On February 4th, 2013, the Royal Canada Mint stopped making pennies. This means that effectively soon, cash transactions will have to be rounded to the nearest 5 cents. Example: $1.01 will be $1.00, $1.03 will be $1.05, and $1.08 will be $1.10 (official Canadian guide to this:  In principle, if the price of an item is random, then on average, all transactions should even out: sometimes the rounding will be to your advantage, sometimes it will be to the store’s. However, prices are not random, as walking through a supermarket will tell you. Very often, prices end in 99 cents. In the worse case scenario then, if you ever only make one transaction at a time, and buy items that end in 99 cents, you will be charged a penny extra each time (if you buy some food item that is not taxed). Generally, this would not be much of a problem, unless there is a systematic statistical bias overall. That would mean that while the rounding procedure is meant to be a “fair and transparent matter”, people would end up paying more inadvertently.

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