I am new to org-mode and I am learning to use it to replace markdown for academic writing.

M-x org-ref gave me this error: org-ref "Unbalanced parentheses", 20306, 18248 error What should I do about it?

The error seems to have something to do with my .bib file.

when loading with emotional_literacy.bib

It works with one .bib file, after validation, though not completely. But fails in another.

error with thesis.bib

The same error occurs when trying to validate that .bib file with M-x bibtex-validate under bibtex-mode.

Both files have been generated by better-bibtex in Zotero.


When validating thesis.bib

Debugger entered--Lisp error: (scan-error "Unbalanced parentheses" 20306 182486)
  scan-sexps(20306 1)
  bibtex-parse-association(bibtex-parse-field-name bibtex-parse-field-text)
  funcall-interactively(bibtex-validate nil)
  call-interactively(bibtex-validate record nil)
  command-execute(bibtex-validate record)
  execute-extended-command(nil "bibtex-validate" "bibtex-vali")
  funcall-interactively(execute-extended-command nil "bibtex-validate" "bibtex-vali")
  call-interactively(execute-extended-command nil nil)

toggle-debug made no difference in org-mode.

  • could you provide some more details? How did you install org-ref, for example? what is the output of M-x org-ref-version? – John Kitchin Jun 13 '19 at 14:27
  • @JohnKitchin I installed it through M-x package-install. org-ref version 1.1.1 – Sati Jun 13 '19 at 14:45
  • 1
    This looks like you have a syntax error in your bibtex file. Probably if you open it, and type M-x bibtex-validate it might give you a hint of where the problem is. I guess there is a missing bracket somewhere. A common way to find that is to bisect the file, e.g. comment half of it out, and see if the problem goes away. – John Kitchin Jun 14 '19 at 0:18
  • I am working with a simple .bib file with just 2 to 3 entries now. Still couldn't get bib-ref to work. – Sati Jun 14 '19 at 2:04
  • I would post this as an issue on the org-ref github repo and include the org file and bib file. github.com/jkitchin/org-ref/issues – John Kitchin Jun 15 '19 at 0:04

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