Import a list of publications in BibTeX or RIS format

The UC Publication Management System allows you to import publication lists saved in two formats: 

  1. BibTeX (*.bib)
  2. Reference Manager/EndNote (*.ris)

Below is a guide to importing using a BibTeX file; the workflow is the same with an EndNote file. If your publication list is not already in .bib or .ris format, please refers to articles under Improve Publication Suggestions & Bulk Import/Export for detailed instructions on converting to BibTeX or importing directly from other systems, such as ORCID.

How to import

1. Log into the UC Publication Management System using your campus account credentials. (If you are importing works for another author, log in, then impersonate their user account.)

2. Select Menu > My Profile > Tools > Import Publications or type “Import” in the navigation search bar (quick link).

3. Upload your BibTeX file:

  1. File: Use the Browse button to locate your .bib file
  2. File type: Select the BibTeX option
  3. Click the upload button.
    Note: It may take several minutes for the system to process the file you've just uploaded. Please be patient and do not close your browser window.

The system will display the publications imported from the BibTeX in three lists: New Records, Records matched to publications without manual records, and Records matched to publications with manual records (these list names are explained below). Take a moment to review the list to verify that the data looks correct, and to deselect any items which you do not wish to import.

Check each list for duplicates or incorrect author relationships. But don’t worry if you miss one or several – you can always remove it from your publication list later.

  • Relationship: This describes your relationship to the publication: Author, Editor, Translator, or Contributor. In most cases, this should be Author. If an item that you did not author is listed in the column as “Relationship: Author”, untick the “Relationship: Author” box.

    In this screenshot, we have unticked the “Relationship: Author” box as it should be “Relationship: Contributor”. It will not be imported.

  • New records: These are publications that the UCPMS has never found. If they look correct, they can be safely imported.

    In this screenshot, four new references (“records”) have been processed and are ready to import. All have the UC author listed as “Author”. If this is correct, they can be safely imported.

  • Matched to publications without manual records: These are references to publications that the UCPMS has previously found in external databases, but for which no other UC author has created a manual reference (“record”) in the UCPMS. If they look correct, they can be safely imported.

    In this screenshot, 211 references (“records”) have been matched . All have the UC author listed as “Author”. If this is correct, they can be safely imported.

  • Matched to publications with manual records: These are publications that the UCPMS has previously found in publication databases, and which other UC authors have created a “manual” reference (“record”) in the UCPMS. Usually manual references are created during a BibTeX import (as you are doing now). If they look correct, they can be safely imported.

    In this screenshot, 38 references (“records”) have been matched . All have the UC author listed as “Author”. If this is correct, they can be safely imported.

When you're done verifying this list, select the Import button.

Supported and unsupported BibTeX features

The UCPMS's importer attempts to be flexible where possible, and it will try to import as many entries as possible from a file which contains other entries that it doesn't understand.

Unfortunately, however, there is no standard format for BibTeX files which is universally agreed and adhered to by the different systems which import and export them. One of the many reasons for this is that BibTeX files can contain arbitrary LaTeX macros, which affect the interpretation of the BibTeX file for example when being rendered into a LaTeX document.

Advanced supported features

The BibTeX importer supports the following features of BibTeX:

  • @string declarations

    BibTeX allows certain commonly used phrases to be stored in string variables and reused. String variables are defined thus:

    @string {
                  stringVariableName = "Contents of string variable"

    String variables can be re-used inside entries, for example:

    @string { myName = "Cai Wingfield" }
    @book {
              author = myName,

    String variables can be used with the BibTeX importer, provided that the variable name uses only the characters a-z, A-Z, 0-9 and _ (underscore).

    For example:

    @string { my_uni_06_09 = "University of Cambridge" }

    is valid, but

    @string { tu-dresden = "Technische Universit{\"a}t Dresden" }

    is not.

    The variable is referred to case-sensitively, so myName is not the same as MyName.

    The variable is not referred to inside a quote-delimited value, so this is valid:

    @string { myName_first = "Cai" }
    @string { myName_last = "Wingfield" }
    @book {
              author = myName_first # " " # myName_last # " and Charles Darwin",

    But this is not:

    @string { myName_first = "Cai" }
    @string { myName_last = "Wingfield" }
    @book {
              author = "myName_last, myName_first and Darwin, Charles",
  • Plaintext comments

    Any text which is not a valid entry and which appears outside of any valid entries is considered a comment and is completely ignored by the importer.

    % This text is completely ignored, and the following entry is
    % Imported ok
    @book {originofspecies6,
     title = {The origin of species. Sixth edition},
     author = {Charles Darwin},
     publisher = {John Murray},
     year = {1872}
    % this text between entries is ignored
     title = "this 'entry' does not begin with an an-sign",
     author = "and so is interpreted as a comment",
     year = "and ignored by the importer"

    It is important to remember that the at sign @ is a special character in BibTeX, and should not be included within comments.

  • Single @comment declarations

    An entry which begins with @comment instead of an entry definition like @book or @report is ignored. @comment entries do not need to be well-formed.

Unsupported features

The BibTeX importer does not support the following features:

  • Block @commenting

    Some BibTeX users are in the practice of "block-commenting" a number of unwanted entries in the following way:

    @article {article1,
    @book {book2,

    This is not supported by the importer. The "commented-out" entries will still be imported, and @comment entries may not contain the @ symbol.

  • @preamble declarations

    BibTeX files can contain arbitrary LaTeX commands and marcos which can then be referenced within the BibTeX entries. They are declarations which look like this:

    @preamble {
     \newcommand{\code}[1]{\texttt{\footnotesize #1}}

    The importer will completely ignore these declarations, and they will have no effect on the imported entries.

  • Importing malformed BibTeX files

    When the BibTeX importer encounters an entry which does not conform to the specification described here (for example, if a comma is missing from the end of a line), the importer will not import that entry. Instead it will continue until it finds the beginning of the next entry and start importing entries form there.

Due to the nature of the importer, it is possible that the reported line numbers and error messages will not precisely relate to the location of the error. Rather they refer to the point line at which the importer detected it was in a bad state. The reported line should always be within the same entry as the error and is usually either the line with the error or the immediately following line.