Bibtex, latex, elsarticle and nodots : meaningless error message

Just in case this could help someone else, here is a small record about why using latex and bibtex with the Elsevier article class and bibliography style model4-names.bst may lead to some headaches…

First, just using
does not display the name of authors and the date, but just a number [1].

Solution : \documentclass[authoryear]{elsarticle} (from the sample file at

The problem with this solution is that the author’s names are full of dots in the reference section (Smith, S.J., for example, instead of Smith SJ).
The solution provided here is to use the numcompress.sty package like this : \usepackage[nodots]{numcompress}

There I got a puzzling error and could not find a solution (this is why I publish this) :

(./MyBiblio.bbl [12]
Runaway argument?
467, 469\@nil \else \ifx \next \@@@au \bibauthor {467, 469}\else 467,\ETC.
! Paragraph ended before \@@bibpages was complete.
<to be read again>


In MyBiblio.bib file, some @article items were not well-defined. I had to change pages = {185,190} to a correct pages = {185–190}, and remove a pages={3} as it seems to confuse the numcompress package.

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4 Responses to Bibtex, latex, elsarticle and nodots : meaningless error message

  1. Adan says:

    I had a similar problem and what worked was the following.
    I rewrote the page part for the paper that was published in only one page, e.g. pages={431-431} instead of pages={431}

    Hopefully, this will work for you

  2. Woody says:

    Thank you so much for this! Took me a couple of hours of searching to find your page with the answer.

    Thank you to Adan too.


  3. harald says:


    I could not reproduce this error locally, only the PDF generated by Elsevier had that problem. I trial/errored for hours! THX!

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