I've seen this question: Loading bibtex file in org-mode file as well as this one: https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/114864/how-to-get-bibtex-to-work-with-org-mode-latex-export

I've tried adding #+BIBLIOGRAPHY: sources plain to my Org document, this allowed org-reflex-cite to find the reference I'm citing, but the generated tex file has no mentions of bibliography. If I add LaTeX headers such as:

#+LATEX_HEADER: \bibliographystyle{plain}
#+LATEX_HEADER: \bibliography{sources}

They are copied as is into the document, but that has no effect.

Org mode always generates an empty bbl file.

I've tried all of these commands for generating tex / pdf files:

(setq org-latex-pdf-process
        ;; ("texi2dvi -p -b -V %f")
        '("texi2dvi --pdf --clean --verbose --batch %f"
          "bibtex %b" "texi2dvi --pdf --clean --verbose --batch %f"
          "texi2dvi --pdf --clean --verbose --batch %f")

        ;; '("latexmk -pdflatex='pdflatex -shell-escape -interaction nonstopmode' -pdf -bibtex -f %f"))

with the result being the same.

Below is the sources.bib I'm using:

                  @Preamble{"\def\germ{\frak} \def\scr{\cal}
                          % f**k-amstex!
 \defaultdefine{Bbb}{\bf}   \defaultdefine{frak}{\bf}
  \defaultdefine{=}{\B}   % doublef**k-amstex!!
     \def\bbfI{{\Bbb I}}   \def\mbox{\hbox}  \def\text{\hbox}
   \def\om{\omega}    \def\Cal#1{{\bf #1}} \def\pcf{pcf}
    \defaultdefine{reals}{{\Bbb R}} \defaultdefine{real}{{\Bbb R}}
   \def\restriction{{|}}  \def\club{CLUB}
   \def\w{\omega} \def\exist{\exists}
   \def\se{{\germ se}}     \def\bb{{\bf b}}
   \let\lt<  \let\gt>

author = {Mustafa Seçil, Obuz, Funda, Altay, Canan, Ömür Gencel, Igci, Enis, et al.},
title = {{The role of dynamic subtraction MRI in detection of hepatocellular carcinoma}},
journal = {Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology; Ankara},
volume = {14, Iss. 4}
pages = {200--204},
year = {Dec 2008},

I copied the preamble from an example here: http://shelah.logic.at/eindex.html (I don't really know how bibtex works, and was hoping to skip learning this part for now...)

  • I voted to close as unclear, as based on a comment by OP, the problem wasn't with Emacs at all, but rather a badly formatted bib file.
    – Tyler
    Mar 14, 2018 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


Does it work with this command?. As far I as I remember you need to run texi2dvi 3 times. Besides as far as I know you need to put \bibliography{sources} in the body where you want the bibliography not in the preamble.

(setq org-latex-pdf-process (quote ("texi2dvi --pdf --build=local --verbose     --batch %f"
                    "bibtex %b"
                    "texi2dvi --pdf  --verbose --batch %f"
                    "texi2dvi --pdf  --verbose --batch %f")))

You can try running the generated tex file to see if it runs.

  • I also tried biblatex rather than bibtex, but the culprit wasn't either. The problem was that my sources.bib file had minor problem with its format: the commas in the authors, which I had to replace with and. This made bibtex generate empty sources.bbl...
    – wvxvw
    Jan 14, 2018 at 11:54

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