Why is the order/numbering of citations not correct?

Users often ask why citations are numbered e.g. … [1] … [3] … [2]  and not … [1] … [2] … [3] . The answer is easy: because of the citation style you use. Some (but not all) citation styles order the entries in the bibliography by the authors’ last name. In the example, a bibliography might look like this

[1]    Agarwal, N. et al. 2005. Research Paper Recommender Systems: A Subspace Clustering Approach. Proceedings of the 6th international conference on Advances in Web-Age Information Management (WAIM’05) (2005), 475–491.

[2]    Burke, R. 2002. Hybrid recommender systems: Survey and experiments. User modeling and user-adapted interaction. 12, (2002), 331–370.

[3]    Castells, P. et al. 2009. Novelty and Diversity Metrics for Recommender Systems: Choice, Discovery and Relevance. Proceedings of International Workshop on Diversity in Document Retrieval (DDR) (2009), 29–37.

The list is ordered alphabetically. Therefore, if you cite the paper by Burke first in your paper, it will be numbered [2]. If you want your citations numbered by the order they appear in the full-text, you must select another citation style that supports this (e.g. the IEEE style).

There is another issue some users experience. When you cite two references at once, they might appear as [2,1], though it should be [1,2]. If this happens, your citation style was not written properly. In this case you can edit it with a text editor locally, or, ideally you fix the citation style online so other users can benefit from the change. To fix the sorting issue, add a

   <key variable=”citation-number” sort=”ascending”/> 


after the command <citation collapse…> and before the command <layout…>.

If this also does not help, please send an example Word document and your BibTeX file to .

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