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User:Citation bot

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Source code available at GitHub.
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Function summary

This bot was originally designed to add digital object identifiers (DOIs) to references; it now does much more, adding other identifiers (PMIDs, ISBNs), links to open access repositories, and fixing common formatting errors.

The bot obtains citation data from a range of sources including Google Books, Google Books API Family, CrossRef, AdsAbs, arXiv, oaDOI and PubMed. Because scraping data from web pages is unreliable and resource-intensive, these databases are the main source of data; unfortunately the bot is unable to tell when these databases contain errors or incomplete information. Any such error or omission should be reported directly to the data repository maintainer. The bot also corrects citations to match WP:CITALICSRFC and similar. Note that a 503 error means that the bot is overloaded and you should try again later – wait at least an hour.

Data sources

Open source links are from mostly oaDOI.


A stable version of the bot is always available at

Time commitments preclude regular updates; maintenance is attempted every few months. The source code can be found at

Interpreting bot edit summaries

The bot edit summaries try to strike a balance between providing too little information to be useful and so much information as to exceed the line limits and to just duplicate the edit content itself. Sometimes the edit summary will include items that did not occur in the final edit because multiple actions cancelled each other out. Also, if a URL is removed, then the edit summary might say that other things (such as access-date) were removed because there was no URL, even though there was originally a URL: this is because the bot works in phases.

Stopping the bot from editing

  • To prevent Citation bot from editing a page entirely, add the following text anywhere on the page
    ((bots|deny=Citation bot))
  • To prevent Citation bot from editing a specific citation, add a comment to the citation template before the first |, such as
    ((cite journal <!-- Citation bot bypass--> |last=Smith |first=John |year=2018 |...))
  • If the bot is erroneously adding or modifying a parameter (e.g. adding a wrong |last=/|first=, or a wrong |doi=) to a citation), put a comment in place of the appropriate parameter such as
    |doi = <!-- Citation bot adds wrong DOI-->

Although the content of the comment is not relevant to the Citation Bot, it is best to include some text within the comment so that human editors understand why there is a comment. Also, it makes it clear why, such if the comment was "Citation bot grabs invalid issue number from pubmed", then a human might know that they too should not believe pubmed. Lastly, random empty comments are prone to being deleted by human editors as "extraneous".

It may be possible to fix the underlying problem if you report the error – but there are a few, rare instances (such as false positives and editor preference) where it is impossible to implement an automatic fix.

False positives

If the bot is adding seemingly-unrelated data to a citation, it is probably receiving a false positive from the citation databases it consults. Unfortunately, there's no way for the bot to know this, so there are two ways of avoiding it:

  • Change the citation template to one which the bot doesn't modify, such as cite news, etc;
  • Add a comment into one or more of the parameters – these comments will not be over-ridden by the bot, and will reduce the chance of the citation databases throwing false positives.
  • If the journal title has non-standard casing (Such as PLOS One), then special code should be requested on the bug report page, or better yet, make a pull request on

Page numbers with hyphens

The bot replaces hyphens with en dash in page number ranges. On rare occasions when a hyphen is right and an en dash is wrong (hyphen in the page number itself, often because the page number includes the chapter too), manually use the ((hyphen)) template instead of the dash/hyphen character. An alternative is to use the template's |at= parameter.

Valid parameters

The bot draws all parameters specified in Module:Citation/CS1/Whitelist with the format "['parameter_name'] = true", and treats these as valid spellings. The bot maintains its own copy at


There have been a number of requests for the bot to be adapted to foreign-language wikipedias. When time permits, I will be happy to work towards this. For me to adapt the bot for a foreign wiki I first need:

  • A valid bot account on that wiki with the appropriate permission for its edits
  • A translation of each of the template names and parameters used.

If you have both of these available, please let me know and I will set to work on the necessary coding.


Automatic or manually Assisted: Automatic

Programming language(s): PHP

Function summary: Maintains and expands citations; ensures standards are complied to.

Edit period(s): Can run in a continuous mode that automatically revisits articles, but currently used on specific articles whenever requested by a user.

Function details:

  1. Replaces "id=identifier" or "url= with "identifier=#"
  2. Fixes common typos in parameter names (not values), using the closest match if the typo is not in a list of frequent mistakes
  3. Removes redundant parameters
  4. Searches for missing parameters (including URL), then adds them if available. This is especially convenient when only an identifier is included within the template
    • The bot uses a range of databases including Google Books API, Google Books, PubMed, CrossRef, AdsAbs,, and JSTOR
  5. Converts an endnote citation to a Wikipedia citation — Example
  6. Is authorized to, but not currently add names to references and combine duplicates
  7. Expands ((cite arXiv)) templates with an eprint parameter, and updates them to use ((cite journal)) where appropriate
  8. Where a mixture of ((citation)) and ((cite xxx)) family templates are used in an article, is authorized to standardize to the dominant format, but does not currently do that
  9. Convert bare references to citation template based references

User box you can add to show support

Wikitext userbox where used
((User wikipedia/Citation bot))
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This user fixes citations with the help of Citation bot.
linked pages

Bot approval

See also – Other great tools to use

Bot Recognitions

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The Original Barnstar
Thank you, you have been very helpful to me as a new user and contributor. Tonythetiger89 (talk) 16:29, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
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This kitten is



Kashment (talk) 20:51, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 05:13, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

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The Citation Barnstar
For all of your citation fixes! Quinton Feldberg (talk) 05:49, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
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The Editor's Barnstar

Im out of words! It's Indeed very helpful Dadhush (talk) 12:52, 16 November 2018 (UTC)

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The Editor's Barnstar
Good job. Keep it up man !!! Taal Saptak (talk) 10:09, 7 July 2018 (UTC)
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That's really great Jackwilliam2 (talk) 12:20, 3 December 2018 (UTC)
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The Technical Barnstar
Thank you for your dedication that eases my workload! It's gonna be awesome!Talk♬ 13:36, 5 January 2019 (UTC)

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The Original Barnstar
Thank you Ackee123 (talk) 11:38, 30 August 2019 (UTC)

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Good job! Azilmark89 (talk) 12:53, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
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The Citation Barnstar
Hey, I was just there suffering in cite date. Any way thanks CBOT. F5pillar (talk) 19:18, 21 January 2020 (UTC)

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The Citation Barnstar
This Bot is very useful. Swapout (talk) 10:44, 27 October 2020 (UTC)

Why not send a cup! IWikepidsacusk (talk) 14:17, 4 December 2020 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

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The Original Barnstar
thank bot Mohamed Taqi (talk) 11:44, 25 May 2021 (UTC)

당신을 위한 반스타!

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편집자 반스타
Thank you for your detail editing. May the Lord bless you. 칼빈500 (talk) 14:04, 18 September 2021 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

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The Original Barnstar
Awesome! DIACHRONY (talk) 14:30, 16 November 2021 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

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The Editor's Barnstar
Thank you for your edit on Pokémon Go, where you added the title of “Kalos Celebration Event - Pokémon Go” by Serebii, which I pasted the URL to. Kurisumasen (talk) 22:07, 7 December 2021 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

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The Citation Barnstar
Thank you, bot. We will always remember your citations ;) Imurmate I'ma editor2022 (talk) 03:26, 9 January 2022 (UTC)


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A goat friend for a bot, why not?

Cobrafang (talk) 13:25, 30 May 2022 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

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The Original Barnstar
thank bot 😁️ Einahr11 (talk) 19:22, 12 August 2022 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

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The Brilliant Idea Barnstar
This bot is great! Andre🚐 02:47, 8 August 2022 (UTC)

A barnstar for you!

Vitruvian Barnstar Hires.png
The Technical Barnstar
thanks chad Von bismarck (talk) 18:55, 6 February 2023 (UTC)
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User:Citation bot
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